Two medical-testing firms are in a dispute, one of ugly accusations, fear and now impasse. It's also one over a merger. A big one. $ 5.85 billion. Yet mediating is the step the organizations are using to navigate towards progress.
Alere, Inc. and Abbot Laboratories have signed letters agreeing to mediate the antitrust conflict. Most people would assume the complexity of this case had to be only heard in court. This out-of-court process will address some serious, significant impediments to finalizing a deal.
Alere says Abbot wants out of the deal and is delaying seeking regulatory approval.
Alere is claiming Abbot's anxiety is also due to overextending itself, with an agreement also in place to buy medical-device maker St. Jude Medical Inc. for another $ 25 billion in April.
Abbott, meanwhile, has it's own claims, saying Alere is withholding possibly scandalous and critical information about federal bribery probes.
It says Alere did not submit documents about the company's foreign operations that are alleged to have committed bribery.
The paperwork for the Alere-Abbott deal was signed in late January. After some research,Abbott was concerned and angry, saying Alere did not meet disclosure requirements.
So how can mediation possibly help such seemingly mountainous obstacles?
It can encourage face-to-face dialogue, with or without attorneys, that identifies the common ground, and clarifies the problematic issues
It can help the participants find agreement on some points that can open up receptiveness to more challenging ones
It can be a more respectful process with more effective listening and communicating occurring
Promote forward thinking (as in what do we do now?)
Encourages participants to accept ownership of exploring and designing potential collaborative solutions
Helps the participants learn what was previously unknown -- the other party or parties' restrictions, risks, costs, emotional drivers and doors to agreement
Help the parties take advantage of the control in decision making and solution formulation that mediation allows.