When Cricket Wireless was going through a critical acquisition, we helped improve the customer and employee experience.
When Cricket Wireless was acquired by a global telecom company, it wanted to hand off the business in the best possible condition within the agreed upon timeframe. We worked hand in hand with the acquisition team to successfully prepare Cricket for the requisite pre-close activities—without compromising the customer or employee experience in the process.
The road to acquisition
Cricket’s brand, demographics, and sizable market share in pre-paid, or no-contract, plans made it a highly desirable asset. Once the multi-billion dollar deal was signed, Cricket had only eight months to prepare for its first day of operations under its new parent company. Doing so required a massive amount of information gathering and a serious effort to prepare its people and processes, while still providing customers with the high-quality experience they’d come to expect.
Wanting to be “good stewards of our assets and our people,” Cricket engaged a team of Slalom subject-matter experts to guide it through the pre-close process.
“To get something like this done, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of steps … Slalom helped guide the teams through the execution phase, so we could get through pre-close activities.”
From signing to close
As it set out to prepare for the integration and transition process, Cricket assembled an integration team—comprised of both Cricket and Slalom resources—to identify and execute against all necessary pre-close activities.
The team’s efforts were grounded in its guiding principles:
Maintain a high-quality customer experience throughout the transition period and beyond
Retain employees by keeping them informed and engaged
Turn over operations in the best possible condition
The team’s extensive pre-close checklist was divided into six distinct swim lanes, organized by business unit: network, IT, customer, people, corporate, and operations. Throughout the process, the team produced thousands of documents, including comprehensive company reviews, business recommendations, and positioning assets—all to be produced, organized, and delivered on time.
Subject-matter expertise in action
The Slalom team was able to offer a unique perspective to the integration team. We brought a mix of past experience working at Cricket—which provided a deep working knowledge of the company—and years of mergers and acquisition expertise. "Slalom has the [mergers and acquisition] expertise because they've done this with a number of companies,” says Tim Ostrowski, former VP of Business Development at Cricket Wireless.
Due to this breadth of expertise, the Slalom team was able to help answer “what now?” within the allowed time frame and was invited to provide additional leadership and guidance at executive team meetings. Our contributions included:
Using an M&A playbook and expertise to identify gaps in the list of pre-close activities, and making sense of the many steps required to successfully close
Providing structured guidance and support to execute against the pre-close checklist
Functioning as technical editors to consistently organize and deliver the high volume of required information
The stakes were high throughout the entire process. Failure would have cost the new parent company valuable time, money, and resources. Failure would have also eroded market advantage and jeopardized both customer and employee satisfaction. And, in the background, there was the knowledge that the deal could still fall through at any time, so the team had to take care not to disturb the day-to-day business operations.
“How do you describe the one great value [of the Slalom team], when the real value was reliability, consistency, and professionalism?”
“I’m very pleased with how things turned out. We accomplished the goals that we set out to do,” says Ostrowski. “The Slalom team really helped our resources get things done and pitched in where they needed to."
The integration team equipped Cricket for the ultimate success: meeting the criteria for textbook acquisition success. For Cricket, success looked like:
All business units ready to go on day one—with no delay to customers in business as usual
Deal closed on time
Positive return to shareholders