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Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) : Process, Reasons, and Types

Last Updated : 26 Dec, 2023
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What are Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)?

The process of consolidating significant business assets of two or more companies through financial transactions is known as mergers and acquisitions, or M&A. An organisation can buy out another organisation and fully incorporate it, combine with it to create a new company, or acquire all or a portion of its important assets by offering to buy its stock or carry out an acquisition. An organisation may acquire and fully incorporate another organisation, merge with it to form a new entity, procure a portion or all of its significant assets through an offer to purchase its stocks, or execute an acquisition. Each of these is an M&A activity. Additionally, the businesses of financial companies that engage in such transactions are referred to as M&A.

Geeky Takeaways:

  • Acquisitions and mergers are what lead to strategic growth and market development.
  • The goal of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is to create benefits and make operations more efficient.
  • Adding new businesses through mergers and acquisitions lowers risks and makes businesses stronger.
  • Businesses do mergers and acquisitions to get access to key assets, tools, and skills.
  • Mergers and acquisitions that go well create value for shareholders.

Process of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) include a range of financial transactions that seek to merge companies or assets. The process generally comprises several essential stages and can be quite complex. The following is a summary of the M&A procedure,

1. Strategic Planning: The first phase in strategic planning is the identification of objectives. Organisations establish their strategic goals for consolidation or acquisition, which may include cost collaborations, market expansion, or competitive advantage. Based on its strategic objectives, the acquiring company identifies potential targets. Market study, financial evaluation, and due diligence may be required.

2. Due Diligence: A comprehensive assessment of the target company’s financial well-being and operational performance is conducted. This involves the examination of contracts, financial statements, liabilities, and additional financial documents. To identify potential risks, legal professionals examine contracts, litigation, rights to intellectual property, and other relevant legal elements.

3. Valuation: Both parties involved decide on the valuation of the chosen company. This requires the evaluation of essential assets, liabilities, potential revenue, and other variables. Discounted cash flow (DCF), comparable company analysis (CCA), and precedent transactions are all examples of valuation methods.

4. Negotiation: Negotiation happens between the procuring and target companies as they examine the provisions of the agreement, which comprise the acquisition price, payment framework, and any stipulations or unforeseen circumstances.

5. Letter of Intent (LOI): An unenforceable letter of intent is prepared once negotiations have moved forward. This document functions as an outline for the formal agreement, describing the crucial conditions and terms of the transaction.

6. Definitive Agreement: Following negotiations, the involved parties reach a legally enforceable agreement that comprises comprehensive stipulations and conditions about the transaction. Merger Agreement or Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) is another common name for this document.

7. Regulatory Approval: Regulatory approval may be required to ensure that the transaction conforms with antitrust provisions and other regulations, contingent on the magnitude and characteristics of the undertaking.

8. Shareholder Approval: In most cases, the suggested merger or acquisition requires the vote of shareholders of both the purchasing and target companies.

9. Integration Planning: Construct a comprehensive strategy to facilitate the seamless integration of the two organisations’ operations, systems, and personnel. This involves the integration of IT infrastructure, the resolution of cultural disparities, and the execution of cost-reduction strategies.

10. The Closing Process: The official transfer of ownership occurs and the transaction is deemed to be finalised. This process includes the exchange of mutually agreed-upon materials (typically currency, stock, or a combination thereof) in exchange for the implementation of the terms.

11. Post-Merger Integration: It occurs when the acquiring company implements the integration strategy, which entails the consolidation of operations and the realisation of synergies that were identified during the due diligence stage.

How are Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Valued?

Although many approaches exist for determining the value of a business, evaluators generally select one of the following three methods for M&A valuation,

1. The Cost Approach: A cost-based valuation assesses the amount required to build the business from the ground up. This is the simplest method. This methodology is most effective for physical or tangible enterprises. For example, one could calculate the expense associated with duplicating an e-commerce enterprise by combining everything of the company’s assets. Intellectual capital-dependent businesses benefit less from cost-based approaches to company valuation. Service-oriented businesses, for instance, face challenges in objectively assessing the worth of an employee’s talents or abilities; consequently, these organisations are less prone to being evaluated using a cost approach.

2. Market Approach: A market approach utilises recently sold comparable businesses as a basis for estimating a company’s value. When there are competing businesses in the same industry and geographic region, such as the buyer’s company, this approach is frequently employed. Ultimately, information regarding a company’s recent sales in a foreign state or country is not beneficial. This approach is unlikely to be used in hybrid niches or with independent companies led by individuals, due to the scarcity of direct competitors.

3. Discounted Cash Flow Approach: The discounted cash flow approach to business valuation involves a comparison between the present cash flow perspective of the company and its prospective future value. In the event that a business is valued at a significant value during a specified time period, such as five years from now, a valuer will calculate its current value by working backward from the projected future value. The present value of the company is determined by this estimate, notwithstanding the fictitious character of its possible future income.

Reasons for Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

M&As are clever business decisions that combine two companies’ operations. Many businesses combine or buy each other for various reasons. These are some common reasons why companies merge or buy each other:

1. Economies of Scale: When a company combines or buys another, it can use economies of scale to produce goods and services faster and cheaper. This is common in costly industries.

2. Market piece Expansion: Purchasing another business gives the buyer a larger market share, making it more competitive. This is crucial for companies seeking market dominance. M&A can reduce risk and increase firms. Diversity can occur horizontally (inside the same company) or vertically (up and down the supply chain).

3. Access to New Marketplaces: M&A can help organisations reach more customers by opening up new global marketplaces. This is crucial for companies expanding abroad.

4. Acquiring Talent and Expertise: M&A can help companies acquire qualified people, specific expertise, or fresh ideas. This is significant in fields that value skill and IP.

5. Technology and Innovation: Purchasing or merging with another company can give you access to new technology, R&D resources, or unreleased products and services. In technology and medicine companies, this is common.

6. Financial Considerations: Money drives business purchases and sales. Companies may acquire other companies to increase their finances, share value, or market position.

7. Pressures to Compete: For competitive advantage, corporations may merge or buy other enterprises. In fast-changing industries, M&A can help companies adapt to technology and consumer trends.

8. Legal and Regulatory Factors: Companies may use mergers and acquisitions to adapt to changing laws. Merging may be necessary to comply with new laws or reduce antitrust concerns.

9. Distressed Assets: Businesses can buy distressed companies at a lesser price and make money by reworking and turning them around.

10. Shareholder Value: M&A agreements aim to boost share prices. Some companies believe partnering will boost their strength and value.

Types of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

Type of M&A Description Example
Horizontal Merger Combination of two enterprises in the same or similar industry and at the same stage of production. Merger of HDFC Bank and Times Bank.
Vertical Merger Combination of two companies in the same industry but at separate phases of the manufacturing or supply chain. The acquisition of Ranbaxy by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.
Conglomerate Merger Companies from completely diverse industries or with completely unrelated business operations combine together. The acquisition of Tetley by Tata Tea.
Market Extension Merger Two companies in the same industry but from separate geographical areas join together to broaden their market reach. The merger of Bharti Airtel and Zain Group for market expansion.
Product Extension Merger Companies that offer similar but non-competing services or goods join forces to expand their product offering. The acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser by Paras Pharmaceuticals.
Concentric Merger Companies that have comparable goods, markets, or technology but are not direct competitors merge. The merger of Tech Mahindra and Satyam Computers in IT sector.
Reverse Merger A private firm purchases a public corporation, allowing the private entity to go public without an initial public offering (IPO). The reverse merger of Sterlite Industries with Sesa Goa in mining.
Acqui-Hire Acquisition primarily for the purpose of acquiring talented persons rather than the target’s products or services. Flipkart’s acqui-hire of the mobile marketing startup AdIQuity.
Leveraged Buyout (LBO) Acquisitions that rely heavily on debt financing, frequently facilitated by private equity firms. The LBO of Gland Pharma by Fosun Pharma and KKR.
Friendly Takeover M&A where the board and management of the target company provide support for the acquisition. The friendly takeover of Ranbaxy by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.
Hostile Takeover M&A in which the management of the target company is opposed to the transaction and it can go on against its interests. The hostile takeover attempt of Mindtree by L&T.

Benefits of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) can provide numerous advantages to organisations, stakeholders, and the business environment at large. Several significant benefits are associated with M&A,

1. Economies of Scale: One advantage of mergers and acquisitions is the potential for economies of scale, which reduces unit costs by increasing production volume and efficiency. This may result in increased profitability and decreased average costs.

2. Enhanced Market Share: M&A transactions may facilitate the acquisition of a greater market share by companies, thereby strengthening their competitive standing. The expanded market presence could potentially result in enhanced pricing authority and negotiating strength with suppliers and clients.

3. Diversification: Mergers and acquisitions allow organisations the chance to expand their customer base, product or service portfolio, and geographic presence. Reduce the hazards associated with dependence on one market or product through diversification.

4. New Markets Accessibility: Acquiring a company could potentially grant the acquiring entity entry into untapped markets or distribution routes. This can be particularly advantageous for businesses pursuing international expansion or entry into regions where they have a limited presence.

5. Cooperation: The integration of operations can lead to the implementation of collaborations, including revenue shares (such as cross-selling opportunities) and cost benefits (e.g., cost savings, and productivity increases). The combined effects of these synergies enhance both the financial performance and overall value.

6. Improved Research and Development (R&D): Mergers have the potential to integrate research and development abilities that are complementary, thereby encouraging innovation and facilitating the creation of innovative products or technologies. This collaborative effort has the potential to result in an enhanced and more intimidating market position.

7. Financial Strength: The acquiring entity can potentially strengthen its financial strength through the acquisition of a financially secure company. Such outcomes may include enhanced credit ratings, expanded borrowing capacity, and improved capital market accessibility.

8. Strategic Positioning: Through mergers and acquisitions, organisations can strategically position themselves within the market, enabling them to adapt to changing consumer preferences and industry trends. This strategic alignment has the potential to foster sustainability and long-term success.

9. Elimination of Competition: The surviving entity may be able to function in a less intense environment as a result of competition elimination brought about by the acquisition of a competitor. This may result in enhanced pricing authority and market supremacy.

10. Tax Advantages: M&A transactions may offer tax benefits in certain circumstances, including the capacity to offset profits against losses or the application of tax credits. The combined entity’s overall financial performance may be improved by these tax advantages.

Limitations of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) may present a variety of advantages; nevertheless, they are not without limitations and problems. The following are some of the most significant limitations of M&A,

1. Initial Obstacles to Integration: Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) frequently involve the integration of two distinctive organisational cultures, processes, and systems. Poor management of this integration may result in disruptions to operations, dissatisfaction among employees, and a decline in overall productivity.

2. The Perils of an Overvalued Stock and Financial Risks: M&A transactions may occasionally rely on valuations or projections that are overly positive. If the acquiring company overpays for the target, attaining the anticipated returns could prove difficult, potentially resulting in financial distress and write-downs.

3. Employee Resistance: The implementation of M&A-related changes may encounter opposition from employees of both the purchasing and target organisations, which could result in diminished morale, heightened employee resignations, and potential talent loss. The effective management and retention of critical personnel are imperative for the integration to achieve success.

4. Regulatory and Antitrust Concerns: Regulatory monitoring is a factor in mergers and acquisitions, and the acquisition of the required approvals can be a lengthy procedure. Antitrust considerations may also be triggered if the merged entity presents competition-related concerns that result in possible divestitures or adjustments to the agreement.

5. Strategic Inconsistency: A lack of strategic coordination between the acquiring and target companies may failto acquireare the  M&A transactions. Differences in business strategies, objectives, or market concentration may give rise to challenges during the integration and implementation phases following a merger.

6. Financial and Operational Integration Cost: Financial and operational integration expenses can be considerable. These expenses pertain to the integration of personnel, systems, and operations. These integration costs may offset the anticipated advantages of the merger or acquisition if they are not efficiently managed.

How are Mergers Structured?

Mergers can be formed in a variety of ways, and the structure adopted is determined by the specific objectives and conditions of the organisations involved. Here are some common merging structures,

Mergers Structure Description Example
Merger of Equals Two businesses that are comparable in terms of scale and financial stability merge in order to establish an innovative consolidated entity. The merger of Hindalco and Novelis.
Acquisition A company (the acquirer) gains control by purchasing the assets or shares of a different business (the target). The acquisition of Corus by Tata Steel.
Cash Merger The target is obtained through a cash payment by the acquiring company to the shareholders of the target company. The cash acquisition of Ranbaxy by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.
Stock-for-Stock Merger In return for the shareholders’ shares of the target company, the acquiring company transfers its own shares to the shareholders. The stock-for-stock merger of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers.
Cash and Stock Merger As consideration, cash and stock are combined; the shareholders of the target company obtain both cash and stock. The acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart with a combination of cash and stock.
Forward Merger The acquiring company completely absorbs the target company, leaving only the acquiring company in existence. The forward merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.
Reverse Merger A private company can become public without conducting an initial public offering (IPO) by acquiring a public company. The reverse merger of Cairn India with Vedanta Limited.
Triangular Merger The acquiring company establishes and merges with the target, resulting in the target receiving subsidiary shares. The triangular merger of HDFC Ltd, HDFC ERGO, and HDFC ERGO Health.
Spin-off A company’s business unit or division is segregated and transformed into a distinct, independent entity. The spin-off of Adani Transmission from Adani Enterprises.
Divestiture A company sells or liquidates some of its assets, divisions, or business units. The divestiture of UltraTech Cement by Jaypee Group.
Joint Venture Two or more companies form a joint venture to collaborate on a specific business initiative. The joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Walmart in the retail sector.

How are Acquisitions Financed?

Acquisitions are frequently financed using a mix of loans and equity. The specific mix is decided by a number of factors, including the acquiring company’s financial health, the size of the purchase, the industry, and overall economic conditions. Here are some examples of common acquisition financing methods,

1. Cash Reserves: Some businesses fund acquisitions with their existing cash reserves. This strategy is commonly used for smaller purchases or when the purchasing corporation has a large amount of cash on hand.

2. Debt Financing: Purchasing corporations frequently incur debt to fund acquisitions. This can take the shape of bank loans, company bonds, or other forms of debt. The loan is paid back gradually using the combined entity’s cash flow. The benefit of debt financing is the fact that it allows the purchasing firm to use its current resources, thereby increasing shareholder returns.

3. Equity Financing: Businesses may issue new stock shares to raise funds for acquisitions. This may decrease existing shareholders’ ownership stakes, but it gives a mechanism to obtain capital without incurring extra debt. When the purchasing company’s stock is trading at a high value, equity financing can be very appealing.

4. Seller Financing: In a few instances, the target firm’s seller may give funding to the purchasing company. This might be an investment from the vendor to the buyer, or the seller could accept a portion of the sum to be paid in the form of ownership in the purchasing business.

5. Convertible Securities: Acquiring firms may issue convertible securities, such as convertible bonds or preferred shares, to fund their acquisition. These instruments can eventually be converted into common equity, offering a flexible source of funding.

6. Sales of Assets: To fund the acquisition, the purchasing business may sell some assets. This occurs more frequently when the purchasing corporation identifies specific non-core assets that can be disposed of without disrupting key business activities.


In conclusion, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are delicate business decisions that companies make for many reasons. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are a big part of how industries compete, whether companies are looking for benefits, economies of scale, bigger market shares, or access to new skills. When companies decide to merge or acquire another company, they usually look at several factors, including financial, strategic, and market factors. The main goal is to create value for owners and other stakeholders.


1. What is a Merger?


A merger is the consolidation of two or more businesses into a single organisation, usually with the purpose of producing synergies and improving overall corporate performance.

2. What is an Acquisition?


An acquisition occurs when one firm buys another, either through a majority interest or through complete ownership. The acquired company can keep its name or be absorbed by the purchasing corporation.

3. Why do businesses undertake Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)?


Businesses pursue M&A for a variety of reasons, including strategic development, market expansion, attaining synergies, gaining access to new capabilities, and increasing shareholder value.

4. What are synergies in the context of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)?


Synergies are the combined efficiency and performance benefits that result from the merger of two businesses. Cost savings, increased operational efficiency, and improved overall competitiveness are examples.

5. What role does due diligence serve in the M&A process?


Prior to executing an M&A transaction, due diligence is the complete research and analysis of a target company’s financial, operational, and legal elements. It aids in the assessment of risks and opportunities.

6. What are the most typical challenges connected with M&A transactions?


M&A challenges include cultural differences, integration issues, employee opposition, regulatory challenges, and the possibility for financial and operational disruptions.

7. What role do antitrust restrictions play in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)?


Antitrust laws are in place to protect consumers from anticompetitive behaviour. Regulatory permission may be required for M&A transactions, and corporations must demonstrate that the merger does not establish a monopoly or limit competition.

8. What happens to personnel during Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)?


Employees’ fates in mergers and acquisitions vary. Some employees may lose their jobs as a result of redundancy, while others may gain from new chances within the bigger organisation. Communication and HR strategies are critical in transition management.

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