Aside from all the economic considerations between Sprint Nextel Corp’s and DISH Network’s offer to acquire Clearwire, there is real value that Clearwire brings to the deal. Understanding how a new partner will support this can be as important, if not more important, than the immediate financial benefits and will allow Clearwire to build on its brand and customer loyalty.
Clearwire has experienced many ups and downs over the last few years; however, the organization has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to developing market leading, competitive products that have attracted a loyal customer base. It’s no surprise this deal is becoming more competitive and why the Board is exercising its fiduciary responsibility to seek a deal that brings long-term, sustainable value to its shareholders.
Historically, mergers and acquisitions have not achieved their full potential in part because the acquiring company attempts to “fully integrate operations and maximize revenue growth,” not realizing in doing so they tear the cultural fabric that creates value to its customers. While it’s easy to consider the short-term financial benefits to shareholders, the Board appears to be considering the long-term ramifications to their customers and who’s offer best aligns to their needs and values.
Successful acquisitions exploit the culture norms that create customer loyalty and model their integration strategy to support this competitive advantage. Revenue follows customer loyalty. Profit follows efficiency. Both can be maximized by linking every aspect of the integration strategy to the customer’s experience – focusing on all touch points.
Like channel conflict, integrating cultural norms can be made or broken – decision rights and perceptions of who’s in control are the threads that can separate the relationship between the company and the customer. In determining the best offer between Sprint and DISH, Clearwire needs to consider the impacts of each company’s unique approach to integration. A motivated strategy will start by talking with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to understand Clearwire’s intrinsic value. The results of this feedback should contribute to determining whose business model best supports Clearwire’s market advantage.
As a Seattle based firm, Clearwire captures the essence of the entrepreneurial culture of the Pacific Northwest. Their ability to attract and retain talent that embrace the philosophy of innovation, change and spirit to remain committed to a long term strategy is paramount to Clearwire’s future success. Aligning with a firm that shares similar traits will ultimately outpace their competition.