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High-tech plastics, high-performance rubbers and chemical intermediates form the core business of the speciality chemicals group Lanxess. With the acquisition of the Microbial Control business of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF), Lanxess has become one of the world's largest suppliers of antimicrobial protection products. IFF Microbial Control is one of the leading producers of antimicrobial active ingredients for material protection, preservatives and disinfectants.

With a transaction volume of more than one billion euros, the acquisition is the second largest deal in the history of Lanxess.

Three steps to the goal

"The main challenge from the consultant's point of view was that we were prepared for an integration, but first had to carry out a de facto carve-out, i.e. an operational spin-off," explains Anna Richter. During the takeover of IFF Microbial Control, it emerged that the segment first had to be spun off into a legally independent unit. In addition, a new business line was established for the segment at Lanxess. In addition to the actual acquisition of the segment, two other complex projects were realised at the same time.

Merging two corporate cultures

While IFF pursues a sales-focussed approach, Lanxess' strategy is product-oriented. It was particularly challenging for Lanxess to integrate the new division in terms of personnel and to form a common corporate culture. Anneliese Bischof, Vice President, Head of Business Line CARE Lanxess, says: "It was important for us not to simply impose our own culture on IFF, but to take our new colleagues with us and work on a joint solution.

KPMG's change approach consisted of intensive communication, stakeholder management and team workshops. "In my 17-year career at KPMG to date, I have rarely emerged from a project so positive and proud," says Anna Richter.

Watch the video with Anneliese Bischof and Anna Richter to find out what other challenges arose during the acquisition and why the process was nevertheless successful.

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