Changing Perceptions and Transforming Outcomes: L&T's Acquisition of Mindtree
On March 18, 2019, Yuvraj Mehta, head Corporate Brand Management & Communications (CBMC) at Larsen & Toubro (L&T), heard about negative media narratives against L&T, following a high-profile merger and acquisition (M&A) between the company and Mindtree. Some of the allegations against L&T were "hostile takeover" and "destruction of Mindtree's culture." Mehta was faced with the issues of influencing all stakeholders; turning the tide and changing the narrative from hostile takeover to continuity, growth and profitability; and integrating Mindtree and its employees and culture into L&T. Compared to L&T's previous acquisitions, which were small, and other strategic initiatives, which were mostly organic, Mindtree acquisition was the largest (in value terms) in its history. It was also the most complex as Mindtree promoters aggressively resisted the acquisition, and L&T had to acquire a large number of shares through an open offer. Media speculations began in January 2019 when L&T, the engineering and construction giant, planned to acquire a majority stake in the young IT firm, Mindtree. Soon the reporting changed to aggressive media ranting. Time was at a premium. Mehta knew he would need to begin strategising almost immediately. How should he proceed? What should be his first move?