Thursday, 19 November 2009

Romance is in the air

This seems to be the season for whispering sweet nothings. K and C are engaged in a very public courtship as I blogged here – its progressing at such a snail’s pace that its probably more exciting to watch grass grow. K has threatened to abduct and carry away C, and C is saying “bah” as women are wont to do !

But there’s another rumour doing the rounds. Yesterday curious things happened with Colgate Palmolive’s share price. The speculation is that Reckitt Benckiser (makers of Dettol) and Colgate Palmolive (makers of, well, Colgate) are looking coyly at each other. It appears that Reckitt is sending strong signal that he/she is ready to marry. What is not clear is who the target of its affection is. Is it Colgate, or is it SSL (makers of Scholl and Durex) ?

If its Colgate, then its not clear who is the bride and who is the groom. For they are both roughly equal. It's supposed to be a marriage of equals. But then women’s lib has not yet reached the corporate world where the tradition of the man abducting the woman and running away with her is the usual norm. So who will pop the question and who’ll say Yes, is not clear.

It is also rumoured that Colgate does not really want to marry. But then its perhaps scared of that stodgy, old man (wheeze, wheeze) who’s much bigger, has a bigger fortune and is capable forcibly lifting her up and running away with her. So why not this strapping Reckitt, who at least is of the same age and has similar taste in music – both like P.Diddy rather than Harry Belafonte which the old man likes. You get the drift …

Why is romance in the air ? Consumer goods companies are struggling for growth. They are being ripped apart by retailers who sell their own brands for a lot less than these companies (after all somebody has to pay for all the ads they air). Then come the discounters who are refusing to stock their products at all. Consumers reeling from the recession are penny pinching. All told, general misery. So the hope is that by marrying they can share the costs (like having only one house, like sharing the same bed, …. because businessmen have to invent important sounding words, these are called synergies). And the stodgy companies who stayed in Europe and North America have belatedly realised that they are in the Old World and that the New World is in China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and the like. Since they are scared of venturing into such strange lands on their own, why not marry somebody who’s already there.

So will Reckitt or Colgate pop the question to each other ? Who can fathom the minds of people who are all dewy eyed (Sri, are you listening ?!). The papers will make interesting reading.


  1. Success rates are far higher in marriages where the woman automatically subsumes into the life of the male species. its a big big change of culture, mindset, ways of working and leadership styles. It is going to be sometime that the quantitative benefits of the integration will fall thru. the hearts have to first unite.

  2. A very interesting article with great connection of marriage - merger of corporates. Guess got to wait for the outcome. I would pronounce (out of my lil knowledge), this is another master piece from Ramesh. I've raised(!??!)seeing you (Ramesh)from loooong distance since the day I joined Indigo - of course with a fear/respect (Like fans of Rajini). I came to know your blog site just recently-3 weeks ago. And read more than 100+ so far (still long way to go). Inspired..inspiring..always!! Look forward more to read! thnx for the contribution. - LG 4m SIN

  3. Just like LG, I came to know about your blog 3 weeks ago and read several posts here. As a indigoite (Kiwibloke being my ex-boss :), I had a lot of respect for you as you spoke with great panache at different podiums but now reading your blogs is like icing on the cake. Just great!!!

    One thing which is evident is this post is that if this is going to get through, this is going to break the usual norm. My only apprehension though is that divorce rates are higher in marriage of equals as synergy succumbs to other important factors. ;-)


  4. marriage of convenience! its interesting as you write it, but then may not be faster than grass growing :)

  5. by the way question has already popped :)

  6. Drawing the parallel between marriage and mergers was ingenious indeed! But "synergies" aren't really what they are foreseen to be. There have been only a handful of cases in mergers where the synergy created by the unification of 2 corporates have surpassed expectations. Synergy seems to be the only positive reason which all and sundry quote for merging 2 entities; behind the scenes there are innumerable dirty reasons which people are reluctant to admit. Now, does this sound like a newly married couple in denial mode when they realise that they made the wrong choice? ;-)

  7. @Sandhya - As always , well said. Very right.

    @LG - Thanks for visiting and your kind words. I am blushing !

    @VA - Welcome . You too ? More blushing !! Yeah, it will be a tough one to go through.

    @Sri - Really ? The question ? Wow !

    @Durga - The promised synergies are rarely realised. And you are right, there are all sorts of reasons for the marriage. Usually, as in real life, its the hormones rather than the mind doing the talking !!

  8. !!! deal pathina posta ithu!!! intha aataiku naan varala

  9. economic times mathirye ezhuthareenagpa!! range kaatings

  10. @gils - WOW ! You came. I am completely flattered. You came and you commented ? WOW again. Sorry this is a dry business blog (don't have the talent to write on general stuff like you), but come at least on Sundays when business takes a holiday !

  11. /WOW ! You came. I am completely flattered./

    ithelaam over ulkuthu soliputen...oru green babya (ennnaa sonen) azha utta pavam ungala summa udaathu....avvvvvvvvvvvvvv

  12. @gils - I am struggling with my recollection of Madras Tamil to decipher that :) :) Just joking thalaivare.


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