Why Do So Many MSP Acquisitions Yield Less than Desirable Results?

MSP Acquisition

Having experienced acquisitions firsthand, I quickly realized that despite meticulous due diligence, the outcomes often fall short of expectations. Even when rigorous financial, legal, and resource assessments are carried out, many acquisitions fail to grasp the essence of the target’s culture, employee dynamics, and client relationships. In this article, I discuss the reasons why MSP acquisitions frequently yield less-than-desirable results.

The Importance of Understanding Company Culture

One of the primary reasons why many MSP acquisitions fail to meet expectations is the lack of understanding and integration of the target company’s culture. Due diligence often focuses on the financial, legal, and operational aspects of the acquisition but often overlooks the crucial element of company culture.

Smaller MSPs often provide a personalized, “white glove” service that fosters deep client relationships. When merged into larger entities, the transition can feel abrupt and impersonal for clients. The intimacy cultivated over the years is disrupted as familiar faces are replaced by strangers. Although documentation and reporting tools can aid in knowledge transfer, they can’t replicate the trust established through interpersonal connections.

Misalignment of Values and Practices

Smaller MSPs typically have a more intimate, personalized approach to serving their clients, which can be drastically different from the processes and procedures of a larger, more corporate organization. When the acquired company’s culture is not properly integrated, it can lead to a disconnect between the new parent company’s practices and the expectations of the client base. Clients who have grown accustomed to the “white glove” treatment may feel frustrated and overwhelmed by the “boxing glove” approach of the new, larger entity.

Moreover, maintaining a client-centric focus throughout the acquisition process is imperative but often overlooked. Amidst the complexities of due diligence and integration efforts, client needs and preferences can inadvertently take a backseat. This neglect can breed dissatisfaction and prompt clients to seek alternatives, eroding the value proposition of the acquisition. Sustaining client loyalty requires proactive engagement, transparent communication, and a commitment to delivering exceptional service amidst organizational changes.

Challenge of Change Management

Effective change management is crucial when integrating an acquired MSP into a larger organization. Failing to manage the transition properly can lead to client and employee dissatisfaction, ultimately impacting the success of the acquisition. 

Another crucial aspect is maintaining the company culture needed to retain key personnel from the acquired MSP. These individuals often have deep, long-standing relationships with clients and possess invaluable institutional knowledge. When these employees feel disconnected from the new organizational culture, they may choose to leave, taking their expertise and client relationships with them.

Clients often develop strong bonds with their account managers, technicians, and other service providers. Ensuring the retention of these individuals or providing a seamless transition to new team members is essential for maintaining client trust and loyalty.

Adapting to New Technology and Processes

The promise of new technology and resources can significantly appeal to clients when considering an acquisition. However, if the integration of these new systems and processes is not managed effectively, it can frustrate both clients and employees. A well-crafted change management plan, including thorough training and support, can help mitigate these challenges and ensure a smoother transition.

The importance of new technology and specialized resources is undeniable, yet the transition can be tumultuous. Clients may appreciate the prospect of advanced cybersecurity or cloud expertise but dread the accompanying change if it is not managed effectively. What initially appeared as a positive enhancement can swiftly develop into a source of frustration and resistance without clear communication and support mechanisms in place.

Communicating the Vision

Clear and consistent communication is essential during the integration process. Clients and employees need to understand the rationale behind the acquisition, the expected benefits, and the plan for the transition. Lack of transparency can breed uncertainty and mistrust, undermining the potential advantages of the acquisition. 

Maintaining Client Relationships

Preserving and nurturing client relationships is crucial for the success of an MSP acquisition. However, this can be a significant challenge, as the personal connections and trust built by the acquired company’s leadership may be difficult to replicate.

Post-Merger Pitfalls

The challenges of MSP acquisitions extend beyond the initial integration phase. Sustaining momentum and realizing synergies require ongoing dedication and strategic investments. Neglecting post-merger integration efforts can lead to stagnation and missed opportunities for growth. Continual evaluation, adaptation, and refinement of strategies are essential to capitalize on the combined strengths of the merged entities and deliver long-term value to clients and stakeholders.


The key factors contributing to the disappointing results of many MSP acquisitions are the lack of understanding and integration of the target company’s culture, the challenges of effective change management, and the difficulty of maintaining strong client relationships. By addressing these critical areas, MSP leaders can increase the likelihood of a successful acquisition and integration, leading to a more positive outcome for all stakeholders involved.

Call to Action can help protect ROI and work out a plan for a successful integration of your acquisition, leveraging tested procedures and experiences that prevent you from falling short of expectations due to complexities and unforeseen challenges. Get in touch with Dori Spade today to map out a plan for your next intended acquisition.

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