Better Together?: A Case Study of the Organizational Integration at SOMOS-Saraiva in Brazil

Better Together?: A Case Study of the Organizational Integration at SOMOS-Saraiva in Brazil

Juliano Pereira (SOMOS Educação, Brazil), João Paulo Bittencourt (Instituto Singularidades, Brazil & University of São Paulo, Brazil), Silvia Pereira de Castro Casa Nova (University of São Paulo, Brazil) and Alexandre Ardichvili (University of Minnesota, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6155-2.ch015
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This case study focuses on a large-scale change faced by SOMOS, the largest K-12 educational platform in Brazil. In 2015, the company acquired Saraiva, a traditional family-owned publishing house with a strong portfolio of services in the K-12 sector as well as a significant share of the higher education market sector. The authors have chosen an episodic narrative to describe two relevant events within organizational change. Six episodes of change were presented, each focusing on specific and related points. They document and map the process of integration of the two organizations, describing the main challenges, critical milestones, and outcomes from each episode. They reflect on whether the evidence-based approach, used to develop the organizational change interventions, was successful in bringing people together during this critical transition.
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D-Day: Go or No Go

The Saraiva acquisition can be divided into three major periods of time: i) the transaction of acquisition, ii) the team integration (or disembarking), and ii) the integration of the processes and IT systems (‘Integrar’ project). Compared to typical merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions, there were two peculiarities in this particular case. First, the submission of the terms of the deal to the Brazilian antitrust agency (CADE, Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica in Portuguese) before the deal's closure, given the size of both companies and their combined market share; and, second, Saraiva’s integration into the SOMOS IT platform was conceived after the integration of personnel, as neither of the two companies were prepared for a full integration by the closing date. By then, SOMOS was still running on the IT platform they inherited from Abril, its previous controlling shareholder, while Saraiva was also separating its systems and processes from its retail sister company.

The acquisition was announced in June 2015, and the entire transaction process, until final closing, lasted until May 2017. Our case will focus on the second and third stages, more precisely between August 2015 to December 2016, when certain decisions that were most relevant to this case were made, including the “Go” or “No Go” of ‘Integrar’, a project whose purpose was twofold: to capture synergies and to integrate firms from the SOMOS portfolio, thus creating a common platform for the future growth. Figure 1 presents a diagram with the timeline for our case, from the acquisition in June 2015 to the end of the second phase of ‘Integrar’ in May 2017.

Figure 1.

SOMOS+Saraiva’s case timeline

Source: SOMOS - ‘Integrar’ Timeline

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