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Excellence in Financial Management

Course 7: Mergers & Acquisitions (Part 1)
Prepared by: Matt H. Evans, CPA, CMA, CFM
This course (part 1) provides a concise overview of the merger and acquisition process, including the legal process, federal regulations and due diligence. The purpose of the course is to give the user a solid understanding of how mergers and acquisitions work. This course is recommended for 2 hours of Continuing Professional Education. In order to receive credit, you will need to pass a multiple choice exam which is administered over the internet at www.exinfm.com/training

Published March 2000

Chapter

1

Basic Concepts
Mergers and acquisitions represent the ultimate in change for a business. No other event is more difficult, challenging, or chaotic as a merger and acquisition. It is imperative that everyone involved in the process has a clear understanding of how the process works. Hopefully this short course will provide you with a better appreciation of what is involved. You might be asking yourself, why do I need to learn the merger and acquisition (M & A) process? Well for starters, mergers and acquisitions are now a normal way of life within the business world. In today's global, competitive environment, mergers are sometimes the only means for long-term survival. In other cases, such as Cisco Systems, mergers are a strategic component for generating long-term growth. Additionally, many entrepreneurs no longer build companies for the long-term; they build companies for the short-term, hoping to sell the company for huge profits. In her book The Art of Merger and Acquisition Integration, Alexandra Reed Lajoux puts it best: Virtually every major company in the United States today has experienced a major acquisition at some point in history. And at any given time, thousands of these companies are adjusting to post-merger reality. For example, so far in the decade of the 1990's (through June 1997), 96,020 companies have come under new ownership worldwide in deals worth a total of $ 3.9 trillion - and that's just counting acquisitions valued at $ 5 million and over. Add to this the many smaller companies and nonprofit and governmental entities that experience mergers every year, and the M & A universe becomes large indeed.

M & A Defined
When we use the term "merger", we are referring to the merging of two companies where one new company will continue to exist. The term "acquisition" refers to the acquisition of assets by one company from another company. In an acquisition, both companies may continue to exist. However, throughout this course we will loosely refer to mergers and acquisitions ( M & A ) as a business transaction where one company acquires another company. The acquiring company will remain in business and the acquired company (which we will sometimes call the Target Company) will be integrated into the acquiring company and thus, the acquired company ceases to exist after the merger. Mergers can be categorized as follows: Horizontal: Two firms are merged across similar products or services. Horizontal mergers are often used as a way for a company to increase its market share by merging with a competing company. For example, the merger between Exxon and Mobil will allow both companies a larger share of the oil and gas market.

Vertical: Two firms are merged along the value-chain, such as a manufacturer merging with a supplier. Vertical mergers are often used as a way to gain a competitive advantage within the marketplace. For example, Merck, a large manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, merged with Medco, a large distributor of pharmaceuticals, in order to gain an advantage in distributing its products. Conglomerate: Two firms in completely different industries merge, such as a gas pipeline company merging with a high technology company. Conglomerates are usually used as a way to smooth out wide fluctuations in earnings and provide more consistency in long-term growth....
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