Understanding Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures in the Microsoft Licensing Realm

Navigating the software licensing world can be daunting, especially with giants like Microsoft. Mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures further complicate these matters. However, understanding the nuances and potential pitfalls can save your company significant money and stress.

The Changing Landscape of Software Licensing

In the ever-evolving business world, it’s common for companies to experience mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures. When these happen, your software licensing strategy might need an overhaul. You need to understand your current license position, including what you own, what’s installed, and where your contracts stand.

For businesses using Microsoft products, having a clear understanding of these aspects is essential to ensure compliance with the software deployed in your environment.

Beware of Audits During Change

It’s no secret that software publishers, Microsoft included, monitor merger and acquisition activity. Why? Because many companies in the throes of these business shifts are often non-compliant with their software licensing. This situation presents a ripe opportunity for software publishers to conduct audits.

By expertly managing your licenses during mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures, you can minimize your exposure to such audits.

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The Varying Impacts on Licensing


When two entities merge, you craft the optimal licensing strategy for the new conglomerate. In all likelihood, both companies will have existing Microsoft licensing agreements. Navigating which licenses remain essential and which become redundant is crucial. As companies integrate, they often restructure their server infrastructures and reduce staff, further affecting licensing needs. Your goals should be:

  • Establish a baseline review of your licensing position.
  • Draft a licensing strategy for the merged entity’s future needs.
  • Evaluate various licensing scenarios to select the most advantageous agreements.


Acquisitions present their own challenges. The acquiring company must be clear about its own licensing position and that of the company being acquired. By doing so, risks are mitigated, compliance is ensured, and spending is optimized. Recognizing the licenses both entities hold can unlock potential savings and even open the door to renegotiating license agreements with Microsoft.


Divestitures, on the other hand, focus on the parent company and the divested entity. As the divested entity stands independently, transferring the necessary licenses and understanding Microsoft’s guidelines for such transfers is essential. Both the parent and divested entities should identify their licensing needs post-divestiture. With divestitures, there are often opportunities to renegotiate licensing agreements or reduce licensing needs.

Why Expertise in Microsoft Licensing Matters

If your company is in a merger, acquisition, or divestiture, partnering with a Software Asset Management (SAM) expert is invaluable. They can help guide you through the labyrinth of licensing requirements, ensuring compliance every step of the way. Moreover, these transitions often present opportunities for more advantageous licensing agreements or optimization opportunities for the restructured company.

Expertise in this realm ensures that your company remains knowledgeable about how licensing alterations can impact compliance, agreement options, and pricing structures.

In conclusion, while mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures bring about significant change and potential challenges, they offer avenues for optimization and improved strategies. With the right expertise and strategic approach, businesses can effectively navigate these transitions, ensuring compliance and possibly even realizing significant savings.