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Counselor Commentary: Merger Mania

Across many markets, mergers and acquisitions are on fire. Forbes recently stated that M&A activity is on track for a record year, and The Week reports that 2015 hit an all-time high of 18,603 deals completed for a total value of $4.61 trillion, beating the previous record set in 2007. 

(The jacket, at right, being held by Aria Health’s CEO is printed with the names of health-care giants Jefferson and Aria after the October announcement of their merger. Photo source: Chloe Elmer, Bucks County Courier Times.)               

Sectors like technology, health care, drug & biotech and energy are experiencing dizzying activity. A few of the biggest M&A deals of 2015 according to CNBC include Shell buying British BG in April for $81.5 billion; Charter Communications set to buy Time Warner Cable for $79.6 billion and the completed merger of Heinz and Kraft which was valued at $62.6 billion and will now be known as Kraft Heinz. Just announced is the pending merger of giants Dow Chemical and DuPont. The merger between pharmaceutical biggies Pfizer and Allergan is worth $160 billion.

The promotional products industry is not immune to the merger frenzy either. The M&A announcements make for robust reporting in the twice weekly Counselor Promogram newsletters. Indeed, recent examples include the merger of Top 40 apparel suppliers alphabroder and Bodek and Rhodes, as well as Top 40 distributor Staples’ acquisition of Canadian distributor Accolade

On the local level, a number of schools, banks and hospitals are merging. For example, the Philadelphia area is home to many of the oldest and largest Catholic schools in the country. With changing demographics, many schools are merging and adopting new names, which requires everything from signage, uniforms and stationery to book bags, trophies and sports equipment.

In suburban Philly, the merging of First Federal and First Savings banks gave birth to the newly named Penn Community Bank, with the colors blue and green being used on all new signage. Think of all the freshly logoed pens this bank and its branches will need. Another Philadelphia example is the recently announced merger of Jefferson Health and Aria Health. In the photo shown here from the Bucks County Courier Times, Aria Health CEO Kathleen Kinslow shows off a jacket branded with the names of both health-care giants. If this merger goes through, Jefferson would grow to 23,000 employees, 4,400 doctors and eight hospitals.

With all these merged and acquired companies, promotional product professionals need to stay on high alert for hearty re-branding opportunities. Whether it’s two or more names, hyphenated combos or completely new brands, these re-born firms need imprinted items, both internally for combined workforces, as well as logoed products for the world to see so the new brands can become ingrained in the public conscience.