Mergers and acquisitions (abbreviated M&A) is an aspect of corporate strategy, corporate finance and management dealing with the buying, selling, dividing and combining of different companies and similar entities that can help an enterprise grow rapidly in its sector or location of origin, or a new field or new location, without creating a subsidiary, other child entity or using a joint venture. The distinction between a "merger" and an "acquisition" has become increasingly blurred in various respects (particularly in terms of the ultimate economic outcome), although it has not completely disappeared in all situations.
An acquisition or takeover is the purchase of one business or company by another company or other business entity. Such purchase may be of 100%, or nearly 100%, of the assets or ownership equity of the acquired entity. Consolidation occurs when two companies combine together to form a new enterprise altogether, and neither of the previous companies survives independently. Acquisitions are divided into "private" and "public" acquisitions, depending on whether the acquire or merging company (also termed a target) is or is not listed on a public stock market. An additional dimension or categorization consists of whether an acquisition is friendly or hostile. Achieving acquisition success has proven to be very difficult, while various studies have shown that 50% of acquisitions were unsuccessful. The acquisition process is very complex, with many dimensions influencing its outcome. "Serial acquirers" appear to be more successful with M&A than companies who only make an acquisition occasionally Whether a purchase is perceived as being a "friendly" one or a "hostile" depends significantly on how the proposed acquisition is communicated to and perceived by the target company's board of directors, employees and shareholders. It is normal for M&A deal communications to take place in a so-called "confidentiality bubble" wherein the flow of information is restricted pursuant to confidentiality agreements. In the case of a friendly transaction, the companies cooperate in negotiations; in the case of a hostile deal, the board and/or management of the target is unwilling to be bought or the target's board has no prior knowledge of the offer. Hostile acquisitions can, and often do, ultimately become "friendly", as the acquiror secures endorsement of the transaction from the board of the acquiree company. This usually requires an terms of the offer and/or through negotiation. "Acquisition" usually refers to a purchase of a smaller firm by a larger one. Sometimes, however, a smaller firm will acquire management control of a larger and/or longer-established company and retain the name of the latter for the post-acquisition combined entity. This is known as a reverse takeover. Another type of acquisition is the reverse merger, a form of transaction that enables a private company to be publicly listed in a relatively short time frame. A reverse merger occurs when a privately held company (often one that has strong prospects and is eager to raise financing) buys a publicly listed shell company, usually one with no business and limited assets. The combined evidence suggests that the shareholders of acquired firms realize significant positive "abnormal returns" while shareholder of the acquiring company are most likely to experience a negative wealth effect. The overall net effect of M&A transactions appears to be positive: almost all studies report positive returns for the investors in the combined buyer and target firms. This implies that M&A creates economic value, presumably by transferring assets to management teams that operate them more efficiently There are also a variety of structures used in securing control over the assets of a company, which have different tax and regulatory implications: * The buyer buys the shares, and...
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