What Carlsberg learned about M&A

ONE MINUTE BRIEFING: Anne-Marie Skov, former SVP at Carlsberg, explains how the brewer integrated acquisitions with very different cultures.

by Jane Nelson

A classic mistake when trying to integrate multiple companies is focusing on the cultural differences between them. It's a lesson that Carlsberg learned the hard way as it battled to integrate several major overseas acquisitions as part of an attempt to transform the Danish mega-brewer into an FMCG business.

Anne-Marie Skov, then senior vice-president communications and CSR at Carlsberg, and now director of the Tuborg Foundation (part of the Carlsberg Foundation, majority owner of the Carlsberg Group), was in charge of cultural integration.  

"We were integrating Kronenbourg and big brewers throughout Europe and Asia, all of which had their own unique identities. But we were also on a quest for growth and profit: we'd spent a lot of money on these acquisitions and we had to deliver a return for our shareholders.

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