What does one enormous global entity buying up another have to do with my dad who is an accountant in a small town in the Scottish Borders?
Rewind almost 30 years to the time where my career was just getting started and my dad and I were sitting having a chat about whether I’d made the correct career choice by going into banking and finance 1 month before the Black Monday crash of October 1987 (thankfully my timing has improved since then !!).
I will never forget that chat as my dad gave me the ‘Finance 101’ talk about how global financial markets worked. I won’t bore you with all the details here but there was one comment my dad made which has always stuck with me… “In 100 years there will only be two companies in the world”
Now, you should know that although my dad is, and always has been, my hero and I have turned to him for advice many times in my career, he does come out with some outlandish predictions and I thought this comment was a bit extreme even for him (Another, more recent, gem when I had my first child was “In 50 years, they won’t be teaching writing in primary schools” – I’ll save the rise, and impact, of technology for another blog)
Pressing him on his comment that there will only be two companies in the world by 2087, he explained his thinking to me in that when big companies get threatened by smaller, more nimble and flexible companies they often decide to buy them to remove that threat. He also explained that that is not the only reason big companies acquire smaller ones – sometimes it happens as the big company sees the smaller as having complementing aspects to their business which can enhance their overall offering.
My view is that he is wrong (not the first time) but I do agree that smaller, nimble companies, who very often provide better products and services, are a threat to their larger counterparts as small companies are less political, have less red tape and are much more agile which means they can move much quicker in step with (and hopefully ahead of) the inevitable market changes, no matter what industry they’re in.
Interesting viewpoint and having spoken to my dad on the topic again recently he still holds the same view – so in 70 years’ time, let’s have a chat and see if he was right!
Author – Brian Swan – “challenging the status quo for the benefit of our clients and partners”