When buyout rumors loom on CNBC, the stock price of the target soars. Yet, most acquisitions fail for several reasons. Overpayment. Market consolidation (Bigger doesn’t always equal better). And my favorite, synergy. When two companies with complementary assets merge, the thought goes that the new entity creates additional value for customers, shareholders, and employees.

Rarely, does this happen. Remember AQuantive, Geocities, Snapple, Nextel, Autonomy, Palm, and most things Yahoo has touched (50 companies since 2012). This is a long list.

Does Synergy Work?

I once was part of an acquisition where the team/company applied a multiple for synergy before setting a purchase price. Basically, this means that by combining your current Product A with the acquiring Product B you can create 4x value to end client. This can happen by controlling more of the sales process and corresponding value chain.

Does selling a camera and viewfinder create synergy? Probably, not.

In the first year, I don’t think we came within 50% of the new target. That being said, compared to the standard and our peers at the time, maybe this wasn’t too bad. Creating synergy takes time. Still, it didn’t feel good. Buyer beware. Set expectations accordingly.


  • Viewfinders are magical, a toy lost to time.
  • Taking pictures and using mechanical keyboards remain cool.
  • The picture is from a childhood toy. Never bad to think back fondly on the good ole’ days.