CDM Smith

Name / Mergers and Acquisitions

The 2011 acquisition of Wilbur Smith Associates by CDM necessitated a new name for the organization. For clients worldwide, the merged company of 6,000 employees brings more than 120 years of experience in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities services.

Merger and acquisition situations always involve sensitivities. The name of the new entity – in that it directly implicates overall brand strategy – can be a hot button issue for the acquiring and acquired alike. Some of the options considered will include:

  • adopting the name of the acquiring company and eliminating the acquired name completely
  • merging part or all of the two names into a hybrid moniker (the result in this case)
  • merging the two names in a way that creates a completely new name (similar to how Esso was derived from Standard Oil)
  • creating an entirely new name for the organization (as Sperry and Burroughs merged under the new name Unisys)

Whatever the final choice, care must be taken to preserve maximum equity from each of the merged entities. The name must also be short and easy, so customers can easily understand and adopt it. Finally, M&A is an uncommon opportunity to consider a subtle repositioning of the combined company and accordingly, a rebranded visual identity.