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Rebranding, renaming in the wake of a merger or acquisition

Any business transaction that results in the formation or demise of a company presents an opportunity for business owners to reexamine their company and its strategy. Part of this strategy includes how the business is presented to and acknowledged by clients, consumers and other businesses.

In some cases, it is wise to present a new company with a new name and branding to make it clear that it is indeed a new entity. In other cases, it may be best to keep the name and branding the same. Before you decide on whether to change or stay the same, you should consider a few things.

  1. Current reputations: If you are merging with a company that has a negative reputation, you may want to separate the future company from unfavorable associations. On the other hand, if you are merging with a company that has a long and stable reputation, you may want to retain that image by keeping the name in some form.
  2. Future goals: You could have very different goals and priorities for the company resulting from a merger or acquisition. If the scope or type of work is changing or expanding, it may be wise to change a name if the existing name is outdated or specific to old interests.
  3. Logistics of renaming: Creating a new identity requires things like website redesign, reprinting of sales materials, logo creation, contract revisions and other details that should not be overlooked. If you do not allocate resources to these tasks, re-branding efforts can be unsuccessful.

It may not necessarily be all or nothing when it comes to establishing the name and image of a company resulting from a merger or acquisition. Recently, for instance, AOL merged with Yahoo. Instead of creating a new name for the companies and the numerous brands they own, owners created Oath, the umbrella company under which all the existing companies will remain. 

By doing this, they can position Oath as the new, "disruptive" company business owners want without having to give up consumer loyalty to existing brands.

Renaming is just one strategy to consider when it comes to the complexity of mergers and acquisitions. Examining this and the other strategies from a legal perspective with your attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes and protect your company.

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