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Beyond Negotiations: Addressing Equally Complex Issues During the Merger

When it comes to an agribusiness merger, the executives managing the companies through that process need to keep two priorities in mind – food sustainability and customer benefit – says Ed Shonsey, the M&A expert at Finding Black Ink, a consultancy of former agribusiness CEOs and EVPs with more than 300 combined years of agricultural leadership experience. Those two priorities are tightly intertwined and co-dependent but should be balanced with an experienced analysis of key elements such as future cash flows, freedom to operate, and focused strategic planning. An M&A offers opportunity for innovation, for new products and services, for market access, for choice and for increased value, all to benefit the end-user (grower and/or consumer) and to feed 10 million daily. And it is these values that must be communicated by the merging companies’ executives throughout the entire employee base. “The key to keeping the team inspired is to define success beyond the bottom line,” says Ed. “How will the merger benefit all involved?” Food sustainability and customer benefit are but the tip of the iceberg of considerations for merging agribusinesses, regardless of their size. From intellectual property to the blending of cultures, profit and loss to product development, the list is lengthy. And Ed knows. He’s managed nearly every aspect of an agribusiness, from human resources to research to executive leadership and, as a CEO and CFO, has ushered his companies through IPOs, divestitures, acquisitions, start-up, expansions, market-building and value-creation. The executive resources at Finding Black Ink have the career experiences needed to aid agribusiness executives during a merger. The core philosophies that guide Finding Black Ink’s experts align with the factors today’s CEOs consider daily: objectivity, creativity, integrity, collaboration, and, perhaps most importantly, market understanding. With Finding Black Ink, you’ll find a fresh and beneficial perspective on achieving your company’s business priorities. Want Ed’s insights into effective leadership and profitable transitions? Reach him here. About Ed Shonsey Ed Shonsey specializes in global commercialization of technology. He has led both private and public companies as chairman, board member, CEO, CFO, as well as operations director at corporations including Arborgen Inc., RiceTec Inc., Foundation of Liechtenstein, BioN2, Diversa Inc., Novartis, Syngenta, La Jolla Life Sciences, Pioneer HiBred, and Procter and Gamble Co. He has led and participated in numerous acquisitions, divestitures and funding procurement.

Ed is presently working with sustainable food and energy projects in North and South America, Europe and Asia, targeting improved growth and profitability. Ed was a naval officer receiving several commendations for leadership during combat operations, and holds BSEE and MBA degrees with postgraduate work in accounting and finance.

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