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The proposed merger of Comcast and Time-Warner announced earlier this year appears to be the first of many mergers and acquisitions (M&As) that analysts are predicting for 2014.
In a KPMG survey of more than 1,000 M&A professionals:
63 percent believed that their U.S. companies or clients would initiate at least one acquisition this year.
36 percent said their companies would complete a divestiture.
Almost 75 percent of 145 C-level executives expected that their companies would make an acquisition this year compared with half last year.
"Economic fundamentals that drive M&A activity remain strong," says Steve Miller, who leads integration and separation for KPMG’s Transactions & Restructuring group. "Companies have a good bit of cash on hand ... and we’re seeing some additional access to credit, which increases their buying power."
The industries expected to have the highest number of M&As are technology, media and telecommunications; health care, pharmaceuticals and life sciences; financial services; and energy, according to the survey, which was conducted in September 2013.
The most important factors for deal success were a well-executed integration plan (cited by 38 percent of the respondents), an appropriate deal price (29 percent) and effective due diligence (20 percent).
Respondents said the top integration issues are cultural and HR-related (30 percent), followed by products and services integration (20 percent) and accounting and finance transformation (12 percent).
"Integration involves a huge amount of operational blocking and tackling, but the difference between a good deal and a great deal is almost always measured by how well you handle the soft stuff," Miller says.
He encourages clients to create an "employee experience" team to ensure a steady flow of communication with employees.
"Until you know what it’s like to be acquired, it’s hard to understand how personal it is," he says.
Last year, 370 U.S. colleges and universities had student populations that were at least one-quarter Hispanic, according to a recent report by the nonprofit Excelencia in Education based in Washington, D.C. That’s a 53 percent increase from a decade ago, when there were just 242 such higher education institutions.
And many more colleges and universities are almost there, says Deborah Santiago, vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education.
In 2013, there were 277 "emerging" Hispanic-serving institutions, which have between 15 percent and 24 percent Hispanic student enrollment.
Almost 60 percent of all Latino undergraduates attend "Hispanic-serving institutions," which the federal government defines as accredited, degree-granting public or private nonprofits where Hispanics represent 25 percent or more of student enrollment.
Currently, there are Hispanic-serving colleges in 15 states, but they are concentrated primarily in five—California, Texas, New Mexico, Florida and New York—and the territory of Puerto Rico. Emerging institutions are in 16 other states, including Georgia, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, which some might find surprising, Santiago says. Illinois could more than double its number of Hispanic-serving institutions; it currently has 13, but 16 more are poised to join them.
HR professionals might overlook these colleges when seeking out new employees because most are small and less selective in their admissions than other U.S. colleges and universities, she says. Currently, 52 percent are community colleges. But that too may be changing. About 62 percent of the emerging Hispanic-serving colleges are four-year institutions.
Latino students choose a college based on location, access and cost, rather than prestige, Santiago says. "Their motivation is what dictates their success, not the perceived quality of the institution," she says.
She urges HR professionals to broaden their search for new employees.
"Waiting for Latino students to find you isn’t going to cut it in this day and age," Santiago says. "They don’t have the networking to be able to find the employer. To the extent that employers can find these students, they’ll benefit from a much stronger [candidate] pool than you would think."
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