Helping a Private College Communicate and Navigate an Acquisition

San Joaquin Valley College, Inc., which oversees SJVC, a long-standing private college with 15 campuses throughout California, agreed to acquire another higher education institution that aligned with its career-focused programs and high-quality, regionally accredited education. SJVC, Inc. leaders wanted to ensure staff, faculty and students at both colleges understood the positive nature of the transaction, while managing any media and industry questions

Client
Services
Leader & Employee Communications
Media Relations & Influencer Marketing
Industry
Professional & Financial Services
Awards

CHallenge

The acquisition involved two communications milestones – the initial agreement and the transaction approval by regulators and accreditors. Six months separated the two announcements, thus creating an information void. At each milestone, SJVC, Inc. wanted to proactively communicate to internal audiences to affirm that both colleges – SJVC and Carrington – would continue to operate as separate education entities.

Solution

  • Communicate clearly and succinctly with key constituents about the acquisition and how it aligns with SJVC, Inc.’s mission and career-focused curriculum.
  • Engage with media when comment is sought, sharing the rationale about the transaction and offering reassurance to Carrington and SJVC current and potential audiences.
  • Equip leaders with key messages and support to keep staff and faculty focused on serving students.
  • Collaborate with Carrington’s publicly-traded parent company to ensure message alignment and announcement coordination.

A suite of materials – with consistent messages explaining the what and why of the transaction – was developed and customized for all audiences to announce the two-phase acquisition process and anticipate questions.

Results

  • Successful transaction approval, with a high level of internal understanding and support for the acquisition
  • No disruption to day-to-day education instruction at SJVC and Carrington
  • Leaders had the necessary information and tools to explain the transaction and what it meant to specific audiences
  • Solid reputation of SJVC leaders and the institution led to positive or neutral coverage
  • Proven communications processes and messages that can be replicated for any future transactions
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