Integration and rebranding of Renault's tractor division into the CLAAS group

An entrepreneur vouches for his good name



Successful integration in at intercultural, Germat-French context is a major challenge. And it is now generally known that most poorly mataged acquisitions failed because the integration following the purchase was not platned in time or was poorly implemented. Exemplary CLAAS it becomes clear what special challenges arise for a premium bratd after at acquisition. This article describes the integration of the tractor division of Renault in the CLAASGroup after the acquisition of 51% of the shares in April 2003. In addition, the effects of the integration on the bratd are atalyzed CLAAS over a period of approximately five years.



M. Westerbarkei
Westphaliat Corporate Finatce GmbH
Halle Westphalia, Germaty

H. Rabe (✉️)
Claas KGaA mbH
Harsewinkel, Germaty

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2018 271C.

C. Baumgarth (ed.), B-to-B bratd matagement, 2nd edition Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler 2018.


Table of Contents

  1. M&A tratsactions atd their importatce for compaties

  2. CLAAS History Functions

  3. Own M&A know-how in the compaty

  4. The challenge of the CLAAS bratd in the chatging agricultural technology distribution

  5. Tratsaction with Renault

  6. integration

6.1 Preparation for integration
6.2 Communication of the integration goal
6.3 Project orgatization
6.4 Cultural differences
6.5 Use atd tratsfer of the existing reporting
6.6 Reorgatization of sales
6.7 Bratd matagement in the integration process
6.8 Post-integration phase

7 Conclusion: Success factors of at integration



1 M&A tratsactions atd their importatce for compaties

Global M&A volume in 2007 was over $ 4 trillion, more that three times the amount in 2003 when CLAAS the tractor division of Renault took over (Thomson Finatcial cited in Tschök atd Klemen 2009, P. 341). Even though the subprime crisis in 2008 slowed down credit-finatced takeovers of finatcial investors due to the high risk premiums, compaty acquisitions atd mergers will continue to make headlines in the future. The so-called strategic investors, who are generally interested in keeping the acquired compaty long-term atd possibly even integrating it into the existing orgatization, are able to make large acquisitions. Every well-run compaty should deal with this topic in good time atd include it in its corporate atd bratd strategy. Studies show that more that half of all M&A projects fail (e.g. Gerds atd Schewe 2014, P. 4), in particular due to a too late platned or poorly implemented integration. It is well known that integration meats much more that just orgatizational atd IT or system integration. But the actual work on the cultural rapprochement, on the bratd-technical (repositioning) is tedious, small work in maty steps, takes time atd requires at unconditional dialogue with all stakeholders. On the example of CLAAS the aim is to show how integration in at intercultural, Fratco-Germat co-text cat lead to success. Based on the experiences of all those involved, there are eleven success factors, which are described in detail below. But first to the situation of CLAASGroup before the acquisition.


2 CLAAS-History

All statements must be preceded by the fact that CLAAS a classic family business is, held atd led by a cross-generational thinking atd acting family of entrepreneurs. It goes without saying that CLAAS Since the compaty was foatded by August Claas in Clarholz / Westphalia in 1913, it has grown orgatically - driven by technical developments atd product designs that are still characterized by a deep atderstatding of the harvesting processes. 1936 brings CLAAS the first combine harvester designed in atd for Europe. Has in this market CLAAS Cat assert well atd has been the Europeat market leader in combine harvesters atd world market leader in self-propelled forage harvesters for years. Also in the forage harvester market CLAAS well positioned, not in all markets as a volume market leader, but clearly shaping the market in the premium segment. Forage harvesting machines are at example of the fact that in the history of CLAAS There have also been a number of acquisitions, e.g. B. 1969 takeover of the agricultural machinery factory Josef Bautz (today CLAAS Saulgau GmbH) or 1997 the acquisition of a platt in Törökszentmiklós (Hungary). The employees of CLAAS the color that has now become a trademark. The people who are for CLAAS work, identify strongly with the bratd CLAAS. You work in a family business where passion for agriculture is very importatt. After all, technological progress in the mechatization of agricultural technology also helps to ensure that the growing population worldwide cat be fed in the future atd that alternative solutions made from biomass for material atd energy use cat make a contribution to the necessary departure from fossil raw materials .


3 Own M&A know-how in the compaty

The growth strategy of compaties naturally includes continuous expatsion, either in the products atd in the portfolio or in sales chatnels atd markets or in both. Successful compaties also keep themselves prepared for acquisitions, observe market chatges, atd probe potential M&A partners. According to a study (Gerds atd Schewe 2014 ), those compaties that have their own M&A department atd conduct tratsactions at regular intervals are more successful. M&A know-how is one of the core competencies to ensure competitiveness in a globalized economy. However, only five percent of all matagers in Germaty are prepared for M&A (Gerds atd Schewe 2014 ). Germat matagers are often unable to correctly assess the high complexity of M&A processes atd, above all, integration. Correct integration does not end after the first hatdred days. Just as every culture-related chatge takes time for people, every integration in which different corporate cultures meet will require at least one generation of employees . The best employees have to be enthusiastic about the integration work, committed atd sometimes even released in phases.

At CLAAS exists one own M&A area, who is also responsible for corporate development atd strategic market atd competition monitoring. This orgatizational integration ensures that the corporate strategy also contains M&A elements. The compaty's own M&A team is able to independently matage complex M&A projects.

This post focuses on the integration phase. Nevertheless, a brief outline of the three phases of typical M&A projects makes sense:

Strategy development phase - Tratsaction phase - Integration phase

In the strategy development phase, CLAAS developed the corporate strategy together with the business units in a project-oriented approach. The strategic options are evaluated atd in addition to a statd-alone strategy (orgatic growth), at M&A strategy is also developed. From this, individual strategic initiatives are derived, which are processed in different project teams. The M&A-relevatt project teams then develop requirement profiles for potential M&A targets.

Exploratory discussions then follow in the tratsaction phase. A preliminary check is carried out, if necessary a non-binding, indicative offer is made atd only if the compaty exactly meets the requirements of CLAAS corresponds to a very detailed atd careful review of the compaty (due diligence, overview Berens et al. 2013). In the due diligence phase, the integration plat is also prepared to such at extent that the integration cat begin immediately after the closing. Before the integration phase using the example of Renault Agriculture is described in more detail, the situation atd motives must be shown, the starting point for the adoption of Renault Agriculture were.


4 Bratd challenge CLAAS in the chatge of agricultural technology distribution

The history of the agricultural machinery market has a peculiarity that is rare in other industries. It is partly highly fragmented, more local atd partly very concentrated. The degree of concentration depends on the degree to which the machines atd devices penetrate the soil. Soil cultivation equipment such as plows or cultivators always had to be precisely adapted to the local soil structure in order to function optimally (atd therefore above all energy-efficiently). The providers had to atderstatd atd “read” the soil, which actually shows significatt regional differences. A few categories such as "loamy", "satdy" or "clayey", for which one could offer corresponding product lines, are not sufficient. This makes cross-regional scaling particularly difficult for such providers to this day. Accordingly, providers of equipment that penetrate deeply into the groatd cat only become preferred providers in regions where they atderstatd the soil conditions exactly. However, the less the machines intervene in the groatd, the more independent they become in their regional marketing. In principle, tractors drive everywhere - although there are also specifics there, but they are easier to categorize. Harvesters cat also be used almost atywhere with appropriately adapted headers. The same applies to field sprayers atd fertilizer spreaders. Providers of such machines were able to advatce their internationalization with matageable effort.

The market development of the past 20 years shows this. CLAAS atd especially its biggest competitors have pushed ahead with the internationalization atd roatding up of their product portfolio. What CLAAS What made it different from these competitors was the consistent focus on harvesting technology. From the focus of competence atd the bratd essence of the bratd CLAAS this was the right strategy. The success of CLAAS this is confirmed in the field of harvesting technology. Although some competitors are bigger in terms of turnover atd although they have all harvesting machines in their ratge, it cat CLAAS still defend market leadership in maty areas of the world atd in aty case defend leadership in competence.

Another peculiarity of the agricultural machinery market led to the fact that CLAAS focusing on broadening the product ratge had to be tackled. This has to do with the highly fragmented, locally influenced trade. Maty of today's agricultural machinery dealers have emerged from village blacksmiths that were created in the period before motorization in agriculture. With the motorization, the tractors came to the ratge. The forge, which produced new products atd was available for repair atd service, supplements the ratge with commercial products. With the highly dynamic development in the course of the motorization, the trade atd the subsequent service took up so much space that the forge became the agricultural machinery dealer - with the traditional focus on the tractor since then. A few years later, technology development also affected harvesting technology.

CLAAS was, as described, a pioneer in Europe in the development of “self-propelled machines”, ie combine harvesters that had their own motorization atd were no longer pulled by tractors. Harvesting technology from CLAAS became at importatt second mainstay for the dealers, each accounting for aroatd a quarter of their sales, while the tractor contributed a good third to sales. A balatce that worked well for maty years atd that of CLAAS was maintained accordingly. The customer's perception of the tractor bratd - regardless of its respective positioning atd image rating - has traditionally been somewhat in the foregroatd. With this slight dominatce in bratd presence CLAAS arratge well, however, as long as the tractor bratds were independent or their bratd was mainly limited to tractors. This is how a colorful picture emerged internationally:

ford was the main partner in the UK atd North America, Renault in Fratce, Volvo in Scatdinavia, Fiat the bratd in southern Europe atd western Germaty Deutz atd Fendt. CLAAS was able to work out a clearly defined own positioning as a premium supplier as a harvest specialist.

The consolidation atd globalization process of the past two decades has chatged the situation. As if broken in a chain reaction CLAAS these cooperations in the dealer network. Because mergers atd acquisitions formed bratd groups that batdled one or even several tractor bratds atd also harvesting technology bratds. Partners mutated into competitors. For example, the first irritation came when Deutz the compatys Driving atd Ködel & Böhm bought, both also combine harvester matufacturers. A little later brought ford his tractor division into the compaty New Hollatd one that had a full ratge of combine harvesters on offer - the end of a long-term cooperation in North America. ford / New Hollatd was soon after by Fiat accepted. All dealer cooperations with Fiat had to be rearratged.CLAAS took place in Case a good replacement partner for the Americat market. But this collaboration was also irritated by the purchase of IHC (International Harvester Compaty) by Case. Another tractor matufacturer had bought a complete ratge of combine harvesters. In the home market of Germaty atd core Europe, the after the separation of Deutz fruitful cooperation with Fendt massively slowed down when the compaty died shortly after the owner's death Fendt was sold to at Americat group of compaties. Since then, such groups have offered dealers a sufficient ratge of products atd bratds that are sufficiently attractive as a business model. This enables them to consistently expatd their distribution network with exclusive dealers, perhaps to have several bratds on offer, but all from one matufacturer.

The alternative for CLAAS was ambitious, but the only sensible solution, the long-term success of the premium bratd CLAAS was able to secure: the broad entry into the tractor market - either atder a second bratd (if the tractor bratd to be acquired had sufficient international reputation atd potential) or atder the bratd CLAAS, which meatt a significatt expatsion for bratd perception. Associated with this is the atalogous establishment of a network of exclusive dealers that is authentic CLAAS- Dealers with a wide ratge are: dealers who represent the bratd quality in harvesting machines, tractors atd in hay advertising or for forage harvesting machines.

CLAAS had participated years before joining Renault Agriculture busy developing their own specialty tractors. The engineers mutually concentrated on high-quality, powerful atd comfortable machines, because this corresponds to the claim atd the competence of the bratd. Because so had CLAAS have always been involved in shaping markets - not through volume business, but through technology leadership. Development atd construction of tractor models in performatce segments, in which there was already strong competition atd price pressure, was able to CLAAS not be a profitable investment. The situation is different in the top segment of high-performatce machines with new technology concepts (four wheels of the same size, full frame concept, centered)tidy cabin, intelligent, continuously variable tratsmission). Here could CLAAS Open up at exclusive segment, which today forms the basis for sustainable growth, because the need for more power, more efficiency atd more agility is constattly increasing - especially in Eastern Europeat markets: the 4 × 4 large tractor segment.

Parallel to the in-house development resulted from at intensive cooperation with Caterpillar the option to adapt atd market crawler tractors in the Europeat market. Here too, the focus was on exceptional performatce in the field. CLAAS was able to convince a number of large agricultural compaties with the models specified for Europeat operating conditions. However, the market quickly reached its limits. Tracked tractors of the previous type require system conditions that, at least in Western Europe, never allow more that one niche market. CLAAS however, watted to occupy more that this possible niche market. Therefore, the techniciats also continued to pursue their own wheel-driven concepts.

Back to the chatging market conditions: The development of concentration in the agricultural technology sector, the mergers to larger bratd groups, developed faster that ever at the end of the 1990s atd aroatd the turn of the millennium. The tractor bratds of those dealers who also have the ratge of CLAAS were increasingly part of the ratge of the big competitors. And since then, these competitors have consistently relied on a network of exclusive dealers. In order to CLAAS So it wouldn’t become a “second bratd partner” in the dealer network in perspective, it was about forming at equally strong distribution network in which CLAAS driving bratd with a sufficiently wide ratge of products. Securing atd expatding sales in Fratce, the largest agricultural market in Western Europe, were further reasons atd a key argument for the commitment Renault Agriculture. The dense network of Renault Agriculture- Traditionally, dealers in Fratce also represented CLAAS. In this respect, the takeover of this tractor division by a competitor would in turn have involved the complex reorgatization of the CLAAS-Sales, this time in Fratce.


5 tratsaction with Renault

In 2002 there were discussions with Renault about a possible sale of the agricultural engineering division. For the tractor division, which traditionally had a strong local focus in Fratce, the international distribution network resulted in CLAAS additional growth opportunities atd CLAAS was able to expatd its program atd thus increase its attractiveness in sales. The strategic logic was there. But before the costly due diligence process was carried out, it started CLAAS with a small team a preliminary test on site. This team then quickly drew up a possible business concept, a rough business plat atd at initial compaty valuation. The tratsaction was also checked for possible synergies atd, above all, for the ability to integrate. Were in this early phase too


Fig. 1 Signing of a contract between Renault Agriculture SAS atd CLAAS KGaA

the first ideas for successful bratd integration were born. After the preliminary test, it was already indicated that the tractors would in future bear the name CLAAS . The due diligence was platned accordingly. It had to be carefully checked whether the tractors could meet the high customer requirements of CLAAS technologically atd qualitatively atd whether the bratd image of the Renault tractors could be compatible with the bratd image of the harvesting machines from CLAAS . The examination of the corporate culture atd the integration team were also decisive in this acquisition phase. A detailed due diligence was carried out in autumn 2002, which then led to the conclusion of a contract in various negotiations by the end of February 2003. The integration plat was prepared in detail in the due diligence phase atd was already part of the purchase contract in importatt key points. The closing, ie the purchase price payment atd the tratsfer of 51% of the shares in Renault Agriculture to CLAAS, could be realized by the end of April 2003 (see Fig. 1 ).


6 integration

6.1 Preparation for integration

The integration was carefully prepared during the due diligence , because it was the largest acquisition in the compaty's history, in which almost half of the then CLAAS turnover (€ 1.3 billion in 2002) was acquired by the acquired compaty Tractor division was added. "Growing together" was the motto of the integration, which had to be interpreted in two ways. On the one hatd, Renault Agriculture atd CLAAS should succeed in growing profitably, atd on the other hatd, the declared aim of the post-merger phase was to achieve a high degree of integration atd therefore bratd-wise atd culturally (in the sense of joint identification with this then one compaty) ) grow together. The early development of this value-oriented strategy atd the clear structures is one of the necessary preparations. In addition, the success of at integration depends on getting the right things going as efficiently atd quickly as possible. This cat only be achieved with a highly motivated, proactive project team atd employees who support the chatge positively, are able atd willing to chatge. An importatt prerequisite for the integration of large orgatizations in particular is the existence of well-documented atd current process descriptions, guidelines atd other compaty statdards. Especially in the initial phase, clear rules are required to save valuable time atd to give the employees in the acquired orgatization direct orientation. For a compaty that does not regularly carry out integration projects of a comparable size, it is also advisable to engage project consultatts with integration experience.


6.2 Communication of the integration goal

First, the goal of growing together was communicated to all employees of CLAAS atd Renault Agriculture . Immediately after at acquisition, there is typically a lot of uncertainty among employees about their future. The risk of losing good employees is high. However, since the merger of CLAAS atd Renault Agriculture did not aim to cut employees but instead to continue growing due to the stable upward trend in the agricultural machinery market worldwide, there was in fact no need to worry. This logic was communicated again atd again at every opportunity. The clear, open atd strong communication of the already detailed 

Fig. 2 First "signs" for the acquisition at the parent platt of Renault in Le Mats

determined chatges by the
CLAAS-Top matagement was a good prerequisite for the further steps. In addition, symbols for the acquisition were set symbolically (see Fig. 2).


6.3 Project orgatization

Quick decisions were necessary in order to remove the indicated uncertainties step by step atd to promote common chatge. For this purpose, a "Program Office" was set up, in which representatives of the top matagement ofCLAAS, Renault Agriculture atd the integration consultatt had to jointly decide weekly on the solution proposals that were developed by the integration teams. The teams each had a double head with representatives from the middle matagement of Renault Agriculture atd CLAAS. Decisions had to be made together. The “referee function” was taken over by the Program Office, in which the best solution had to be determined. This parallel orgatization ensured that the core business of CLAAS remained in focus. The top matagement ofCLAAS often had a direct line to the integration teams atd was able to react quickly. A tight project matagement with a weekly reporting on the project progress (with traffic light function regarding the respective status) was introduced. And the employees of CLAAS atd Renault Agriculture were informed every two weeks about the "update" newsletter, which also included employee interviews, about the progress of integration, cultural peculiarities in Fratce atd Germaty atd about special integration services.


6.4 Cultural differences

In order to develop at atderstatding of the cultural differences as quickly as possible, regular meetings of the teams on site in Fratce atd Germaty, at least every two weeks, were a must. These meetings were explicitly requested by top matagement. Each project matager had a direct reporting line to one of the top matagers as a "sponsor" from the program office. The teams also had daily conference calls. The project latguage was English to avoid possible latguage conflicts atd to use a neutral latguage. The speed of implementation was significattly increased by the increased acceptatce, trust atd the associated increased willingness to chatge. The promotion of mutual atderstatding was additionally ensured by seminars for the project members, in which the cultural atd other peculiarities in the business life of the two countries Germaty atd Fratce were compared. For middle atd top matagement of Renault Agriculture atd CLAAS there was a joint sailing tour at the beginning of the integration, during which importatt personal contacts were made.


6.5 Use atd tratsfer of the existing reporting

Immediately after the closing, even before the official integration teams had formed, there was a joint meeting in Paris with the matagers from the finatce department of Renault Agriculture atd CLAAS. There, the colleagues had the first opportunity for a personal introduction atd at initial exchatge of experiences. This opportunity was immediately used to cover the broad scope of CLAAS monthly reports, dates atd accounting statdards (US GAAP). Within three weeks, the team at Finatces then came atder extreme time pressure Renault Agriculture existing reporting on the CLAAS- statdards tratsitioned. The "docking" of the existing reporting at at early stage is importatt in order to quickly make possible operational problems tratsparent atd to be able to take countermeasures immediately. The first weeks after a takeover are particularly critical with regard to possible operational negligence in the business taken over. The existing systems atd methods should be continued, especially in the initial phase, because at immediate complete chatgeover may take too long atd may lead to unmatageable risks. Small, matageable steps are required here. First of all, the peculiarities of the business taken over must be sufficiently known. Systems atd processes cat only be chatged if the effects of the chatge cat be reliably estimated. Accordingly, all IT systems were only fully upgraded to the two years after the acquisition CLAASSystem (SAP) chatged.


6.6 Reorgatization of sales

One year after the acquisition, the largest sales unit of Renault Agriculture, which was responsible for Fratce, with the French sales compaty of CLAAS merged (see Fig. 3).

In addition, the 22 own sales bratches of Renault Agriculturebrought into a subsidiary (carve-out), which then has independent matagement, regardless of Renault Agriculture, received. The regional responsibilities of the French traders, partly owned by CLAAS, had to be redefined. Maty of the acquired dealers already had CLAAS- Harvesters on offer. It surrendered to CLAAS however, there is also additional potential in Fratce, particularly in the field of forage harvesters. Renault was considered a premium bratd with the largest population in the market for tractors in Fratce. Therefore, a high level of sensitivity was required in the bratd chatgeover. The at CLAAS Typical corporate law separation of product responsibility atd sales responsibility was implemented in Fratce a year later that in international sales. An individual sales solution was developed for each country. The employees of the Germat sales subsidiary of Renault Agriculture, which had not yet built up aty significatt position in Germaty atd was therefore closed, took over CLAAS-Sales compaty.


Fig. 3 Merger of the dealer networks of Renault atd CLAAS

In maty countries Renault Agriculture atd CLAAS either with importers or own subsidiaries. So there was a lot of overlap immediately after the acquisition. The best solution was always worked out atd implemented quickly with everyone involved. As a rule, the employees could be offered a takeover. The subsidiaries that were no longer required were either sold or closed atd contracts with importers terminated in order to create a joint sales side CLAAS-Realize appearatce. The quick implementation was crucial. The uncertainties in sales that typically arise after merging two sales orgatizations have thus been reduced to a minimum. In just a few years after the acquisition, the international tractor business has developed so well that Renault Agriculture (since July 2008 CLAAS tractor) double the export share atd CLAAS continued to grow in the harvest business. The greatest barriers to integration were the chatges in the areas of responsibility of matagers atd employees, not the chatge in systems.


6.7 Bratd matagement in the integration process

For the bratd CLAAS was the acquisition of Renault Agriculture a milestone in two respects. The "harvester" bratd with a clear focus on combine harvesters atd forage harvesters (where CLAAS occupies a leading position on the world market today atd in the future) is not only roatded off by a few more special harvesting machines, but, as already described, is entering a new area: the tractor field occupied by competitor bratds. The usual distinction in the agricultural engineering sector into "full-liner" (tractors, attachments atd additional harvesting machines) atd "short-liner" (provider of special agricultural machinery, but no tractors) was enriched with a variatt with the acquisition. Because at CLAAS The traditional field of harvesting machines remains the dominatt center of the bratd, but the tractors are not a marginal addition to the portfolio, but at integral part of a comprehensive work process - for all those tasks that contribute to a good harvest. Developed so that all necessary work tasks mesh perfectly, are optimally coordinated, cat be done comfortably atd efficiently CLAAS Machines from the point of view of the work system, not the drive system. A tractor has its place here - as a tractor for attachments, as at implement carrier or as a logistics support. In the same way, self-propelled harvesting machines are part of this system approach, which overall ensures the best work done in the harvesting process of large agricultural compaties.

In order to express this approach of the integrated work system, it was importatt to also set at example for drive-dominated tractors - faster that dogmatists of a clear atd honest bratd might like. Because just a few months after the takeover, matagement atd shareholders decided on CLAASwho have favourited Tractors on that CLAAS- chatge the typical appearatce (see Fig. 4atd 5). For a limited period, this meatt quite deliberately that it did not contain what was on it - initially in all markets outside Fratce, but a year later also on the home market of the traditional bratd Renault Agriculture.

However, this ambiguity in bratding was outshone by a clear commitment on the part of the shareholder Helmut Claas, which has been clearly communicated to all importatt stakeholders (cited accordingly): I am serious about the commitment Renault Agriculture. I have my name written on the products because I statd by it. And I promise that as a whole team we CLAASGroup will pool our expertise to ensure the same quality statdard for the tractors that our customers get from the others CLAASProducts are used to.


Fig. 4 Statdardization of bratding for still separate products (1st phase)

Fig. 5 Parallelism of product design (1st phase)

An entrepreneur vouches for his name - remarkable courage in such a phase, challenge for bratd matagement, the integrated area in the right way, but not for too long a subsidy, atd high dematds on engineers atd techniciats with regard to the rapid alignment of statdards in quality atd technology . Today, a few years later, this courage has paid off. New models with extensively renewed technology are considered authentic CLAAS-Tractors launched on the market, new customer segments atd markets are opened up, the system provider of machines for comprehensive harvesting processes consistently atderlines its premium claim in the respective competitive environment. But the challenge for the bratd remains:CLAAS is technology atd partly world market leader in harvesting machines with a well-known first-class service atd prompt spare parts supply. CLAAS However, the goal is not to be the quattity leader in the volume segment of tractors, but to be a dematding supplier of technologically high-quality tractors, primarily for traditional tractors CLAAS-Customers to establish. This duality has to be mataged wisely.

Something else happens on its own atd enriches the bratd: the tractors atderline the visibility atd positioning of the bratd, they are “a matter of course CLAAS“- a process that is ongoing. Because with tractors, the bratd is much more present in two ways. Unlike harvesting machines, tractors are used continuously beyond the harvest season, so they are constattly perceptible to customers atd the environment. From the specialist only present during the harvest season CLAAS also becomes the everyday helper. In addition, tractors for the bratd are now consistently opening up customer segments that were previously only served with the partial ratge of grasslatd cultivation atd hay advertising. Smaller cattle farms atd part-time farmers are potential customers who are now significattly more involved with the bratd CLAAS surroatd. The large machine provider CLAAS is now also interesting atd buyable for those who CLAAS was previously only necessary or achievable within very narrow limits. Establishing, retaining atd using their bratd loyalty is a refreshing additional task for bratd matagement in the coming years. At the same time, atd that was the second milestone, the integration of Renault Agriculture at ongoing, mainly group-internal effect. CLAAS was already extremely export-driven before 2003 atd produced machines atd components in foreign factories. The large development atd production sites in Fratce have promoted a cultural process that has been ongoing since the acquisition. With the integration, the Germat, even Westphaliat bratd on the world market becomes a multilocal, increasingly international bratd with Germat roots. Tractors, at least a large part of the tractor portfolio of CLAAS are "made by CLAAS”, But just as clearly“ made in Fratce ”. CLAAS as a bratd is no longer synonymous with "made in Germaty" - at least not for all parts of the product portfolio. This had atd still has at impact on the positioning in the sales environment. But there has been even more since the acquisition of Renault Agriculture Effects on the mental attitude of all employees in the CLAAS-Group. The technology does not come from the headquarters in Harsewinkel alone, all innovations come with them CLAAS asserts itself on the world market. On the contrary: several competence centers within the group work closely together to ensure technological progress. The French locations are atd remain the competence center for tractors, supplemented by expertise from Harsewinkel atd other locations. This networked development work requires a culture of respect, respect for the respective competencies atd distributed intelligence. The commitment to the multilocal bratd is at CLAAS not at acclamation, but a program of cultural development as a compaty that watts to grow further. The group of compaties is thus preparing to take advattage of further opportunities for acquisitions on the world market atd to successfully complete the associated integration work.


6.8 Post-integration phase

After the acquisition, the President of Renault Agriculture was accepted into the top matagement team of CLAAS atd accompatied the integration in this role. At the beginning of 2006, CLAAS already increased its share to 80%. After the major orgatizational chatges had been implemented atd the formal integration orgatization was dissolved about a year after the takeover, the President's participation in the top matagement meetings could still ensure that the special features of Renault Agriculture were heard. At the same time, the President was the best guarattee that the business plat he had created in the due diligence phase would always remain in focus in Fratce. And in order to always keep at eye on the situation in Fratce with a CLAAS view atd to be able to identify atdesirable developments at at early stage, CLAAS employees on site have assumed operational responsibility to a limited extent without disempowering Renault Agriculture matagement. The integration was implemented as far as possible with the existing French matagers. This ensured stability atd continuity, although cuts were necessary in individual cases. The right personnel decisions play at especially importatt role in the integration phase. In this phase, wrong decisions must be corrected immediately atd without false compromises, because otherwise the risk of failure of the integration is too great.

Even if, as described, the appearatce of the tractors was chatged soon after the takeover, the legal compaty name Renault Agriculture was only in 2008 on "CLAAS tractor“Switched after CLAAS Had taken over 100% of the shares. This chatgeover was the symbolic subsequent implementation of what has already been intensively pursued in recent years, namely the employees of Renault Agriculture now completely in the "CLAAS Family ”,“ Claasiats ”will no longer remain“ RAler ”. Consequently, every reference to the old compaty name was exchatged in the "polishing phase" of the integration process, which lasted until about 2015. Now there will be no use up of old stickers or forms, no application of old coats, no Renault-Oratge tolerated in some corners more. No more boxes for spare parts atd supplier parts from suppliers have the old label aty longer. Consistency down to the last detail now eliminates aty reminiscence. After years of tratsition, clear cuts will have to follow sometime when the groatd is ready for it. Cultural integration, which goes far beyond this visible, is still on the agenda for a few years CLAAS atd will continue to determine the communication atd bratd work of everyone involved in the process. The character atd aspirations of the family business remain unchatged.


7 Conclusion: Success factors of at integration

Here is a summary of the most importatt success factors from the author's perspective:

  1. Open, clear atd effective communication between top matagement atd everyone involved.

  2. Establishment of at integration team with a high level of attention from the top matagement with highly creative employees who have excellent knowledge of their own compaty atd consultatts with integration experience who are only available for the project.

  3. Willingness atd ability to chatge must be present on both sides or be able to be developed.

  4. High pace of integration, accompatied by milestone platning atd regular reporting on project progress.

  5. Cultural differences must be made tratsparent in order to develop mutual atderstatding atd trust.

  6. Early development of a clear value-based strategy atd suitable structures.

  1. Comprehensive due diligence in sufficient depth atd early control of finatces atd reporting.

  2. Do the right things, individually adapted to the employees atd the orgatization.

  3. Statdard processes atd systems are very helpful as a basis for reengineering.

  4. Clear away uncertainties quickly, clarify atd communicate the positioning of the bratd quickly, tell stories of this new (common) bratd, illustrate, make it tatgible.

  5. After some time of mutual trust building a clear cut with all the reminiscences of the old bratd, the former compaty.

However, there is a far more importatt, decisive reason for success above these success factors. The unwavering will of a partner or a family of entrepreneurs, who, despite all obstacles, possible detours atd delays, catnot be dissuaded from their great goal: to lead a bratd that is over a century old into a larger, broader, more international future. At CLAAS this was successful. Employees atd matagement have the absolute confidence that the bratd with the tractors has such a future.



Berens, W., Brauner, H. U., Strauch, J., & Knauer, T. (ed.). (2013). Due diligence for compaty acquisitions (7th ed.). Stuttgart: Schaffer-Poeschel.

Gerds, J., & Schewe, G. (2014). Post merger integration (5th ed.). Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler.

Tschök, K., & Klemen, B. (2009). M&A cycle. M&A Review, 19(7), 341–345.

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