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What is Mergers & Acquisitions?

What is Mergers & Acquisitions?

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are defined as consolidation of companies. Differentiating the two terms, Mergers is the combination of two companies to form one, while Acquisitions is one company taken over by the other. M&A is one of the major aspects of corporate finance world. The reasoning behind M&A generally given is that two separate companies together create more value compared to being on an individual stand. With the objective of wealth maximization, companies keep evaluating different opportunities through the route of merger or acquisition.



Mergers and  Acquisitions


Mergers & Acquisitions can take place:

• by purchasing assets

• by purchasing common shares

• by exchange of shares for assets

• by exchanging shares for shares

Types of Mergers and Acquisitions:

Merger or amalgamation may take two forms: merger through absorption or merger through consolidation. Mergers can also be classified into three types from an economic perspective depending on the business combinations, whether in the same industry or not, into horizontal ( two firms are in the same industry), vertical (at different production stages or value chain) and conglomerate (unrelated industries). From a legal perspective, there are different types of mergers like short form merger, statutory merger, subsidiary merger and merger of equals.

Reasons for Mergers and Acquisitions:

• Financial synergy for lower cost of capital

• Improving company’s performance and accelerate growth

• Economies of scale

• Diversification for higher growth products or markets

• To increase market share and positioning giving broader market access

• Strategic realignment and technological change

• Tax considerations

• Under valued target

• Diversification of risk

Principle behind any M&A is 2+2=5

There is always synergy value created by the joining or merger of two companies. The synergy value can be seen either through the Revenues (higher revenues), Expenses (lowering of expenses) or the cost of capital (lowering of overall cost of capital).

Three important considerations should be taken into account:

• The company must be willing to take the risk and vigilantly make investments to benefit fully from the merger as the competitors and the industry take heed quickly

• To reduce and diversify risk, multiple bets must be made, in order to narrow down to the one that will prove fruitful

• The management of the acquiring firm must learn to be resilient, patient and be able to adopt to the change owing to ever-changing business dynamics in the industry

Stages involved in any M&A:

Phase 1: Pre-acquisition review: this would include self assessment of the acquiring company with regards to the need for M&A, ascertain the valuation (undervalued is the key) and chalk out the growth plan through the target.

Phase 2: Search and screen targets: This would include searching for the possible apt takeover candidates. This process is mainly to scan for a good strategic fit for the acquiring company.

Phase 3: Investigate and valuation of the target: Once the appropriate company is shortlisted through primary screening, detailed analysis of the target company has to be done. This is also referred to as due diligence.

Phase 4: Acquire the target through negotiations: Once the target company is selected, the next step is to start negotiations to come to consensus for a negotiated merger or a bear hug. This brings both the companies to agree mutually to the deal for the long term working of the M&A.

Phase 5:Post merger integration: If all the above steps fall in place, there is a formal announcement of the agreement of merger by both the participating companies.

Reasons for the failure of M&A – Analyzed during the stages of M&A:

Poor strategic fit: Wide difference in objectives and strategies of the company

Poorly managed Integration: Integration is often poorly managed without planning and design. This leads to failure of implementation

Incomplete due diligence: Inadequate due diligence can lead to failure of M&A as it is the crux of the entire strategy

Overly optimistic: Too optimistic projections about the target company leads to bad decisions and failure of the M&A

Example: Breakdown in merger discussions between IBM and Sun Microsystems happened due to disagreement over price and other terms. 

Recent Mergers and Acquisitions



Mergers and Acquisitions Case Study:

Case Study 1: Sun Pharmaceuticals acquires Ranbaxy:

The deal has been completed: The companies have got the approval of merger from different authorities.

This is a classic example of a share swap deal. As per the deal, Ranbaxy shareholders will get four shares of Sun Pharma for every five shares held by them, leading to 16.4% dilution in the equity capital of Sun Pharma (total equity value is USD3.2bn and the deal size is USD4bn (valuing Ranbaxy at 2.2 times last 12 months sales).

Reason for the acquisition: This is a good acquisition for Sun Pharma as it will help the company to fill in its therapeutic gaps in the US, get better access to emerging markets and also strengthen its presence in the domestic market. Sun Pharma will also become the number one generic company in the dermatology space. (currently in the third position in US) through this merger.

Objectives of the M&A:

• Sun Pharma enters into newer markets by filling in the gaps in the offerings of the company, through the acquired company

• Boosting of products offering of Sun Pharma creating more visibility and market share in the industry

• Turnaround of a distressed business from the perspective of Ranbaxy

This acquisition although will take time to consolidate, it should in due course start showing results through overall growth depicted in Sun Pharma’s top-line and bottom-line reporting.

Case Study 2: CMC merges with TCS:

This is an example where there is a merger in the same industry (horizontal). It was done to consolidate the IT businesses. The objective of this merger, as indicated by the management of CMC, was that the amalgamation will enable TCS to consolidate CMC’s operations into a single company with rationalised structure, enhanced reach, greater financial strength and flexibility. Further it also indicated that, it will aid in achieving economies of scale, more focused operational efforts, standardisation and simplification of business processes and productivity improvements.

Mergers and Acquisitions is an extremely important topic in CFA exam. The three levels of CFA exam build a foundation of Mergers and Acquisitions and will help you reach your dream job in this field.

About the CFA exam

Eligibility: Graduation + 2 years of professional work experience

Duration: 2 years 6 months (for all three level of exams)

Top employers: JP Morgan Chase, UBS, Citigroup, Bank of America

Avg. salary range: 6.5 lacs to 18 lacs (Source: PayScale)
More Details about CFA program >>


Want to excel and pursue a career in Mergers and Acquisitions?

Mergers and Acquisitions is an interesting field and requires specific skills and expertise. There are special courses related to Investment Banking for students who want to pursue a career in the Investment Banking field to learn and work in Mergers and Acquisitions. There are some professional courses that cover the finance topic as a whole and prepare the students for the Investment Banking domain. Below is a list of three professional courses that will enable you to learn Mergers and Acquisitions and build a career in Investment Banking:

Courses to learn Mergers and Acquisitions and start a career in Investment Banking: 

  • Certified Public Accountant (US CPA) – To learn more about the US CPA course eligibility, US CPA course duration and US CPA course fees, contact our counsellors or visit our centres.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) – To learn more about the CFA course eligibility, CFA course duration and CFA course fees, contact our counsellors or visit our centres
  • Financial Risk Manager (FRM) – To learn more about the FRM course eligibility, FRM course duration and FRM course fees, contact our counsellors or visit our centres.

EduPristine provides training in Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and Analytics. Students can opt for a training format as per their convenience from the available options which are Live Online training, Classroom training and Self Study training.


M&A’s are considered as important change agents and are a critical component of any business strategy. The known fact is that with businesses evolving, only the most innovative and nimble can survive. That is why, it is an important strategic call for a business to opt for any arrangements of M&A. Once through the process, on a lighter note M&A is like an arranged marriage, partners will take time to understand, mingle, but will end up giving positive results most of the times.

Talk to our expert career counselors who can guide you about right course, career benefits, and preparation.