Sold-to the Highest Bidder in Japan: Operational Challenges and Culture
Most talented executives can recognize when an acquisition has strategic or financial benefits, and in this case, the decision to be acquired was an appropriate exit strategy for a successful start-up. Peter Street's start-up had been growing quickly and was building a reputation for reliability in a booming industry when a Japanese firm offered to pay a premium for the U.S. firm. Having done business in Japan (and extensively with the acquiring company) before the sale of his company, Street entered the acquisition with enthusiasm. As part of the deal, Street's former company would continue to operate in the United States as a division of its parent company and Street would remain as CEO. A few months into the transition, however, Street discovered a huge difference between working with and working for the Japanese firm. Cultural norms for confronting seemingly small problems quickly became bigger operational issues, and Street experienced a growing dichotomy between corporate (in Japan) and his division (in the United States). This case focuses on the challenges of implementing a cross-border acquisition.