• Applicable


getAbstract suspects that this comprehensive text by Robert F. Bruner, one of the leading academic authorities on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), will prove nearly indispensable to any student or executive seeking a thorough introduction to the subject. Much of what has been written about M&A reflects a bias toward or against deals, oversimplifies, ignores important facts or promotes the business of an advisory firm. Bruner, however, addresses M&A with both scholarly objectivity and an appreciation for practical realities. His discussion of whether M&A deals on the whole create or destroy value raises points that seem to have eluded the attention of many economists. At the same time, he is quite aware of the limits of economic analysis, and gives appropriate emphasis to psychological and behavioral dimensions.


Can Mergers and Acquisitions Work?

Ample pessimism pervades most writing about mergers and acquisitions (M&A). You often hear of disastrous deals, possibly because bad news sells. You do not read as much about successful deals, perhaps because companies that succeed in M&A have a competitive advantage that they prefer to keep under wraps. For many companies, M&A is the best available tactic. Sometimes it is the only practical way to deal with the realities of a changing market. Companies refusing to participate in M&A are likely to confront competitors who seize the advantages that M&A can bring. It is not impossible to succeed at M&A, however, it is difficult for five important reasons:

  1. The M&A scene is turbulent, rapidly changing, immense and challenging. Approach it with rational understanding to avoid being swayed by emotion.
  2. The goal posts are poorly marked. No common standard defines M&A success, yet practitioners need a working definition of a good outcome to guide their actions.
  3. Even when executives know that they must do their homework to succeed in M&A, it is difficult ...

About the Author

Robert F. Bruner is distinguished professor of business administration and executive director of the Batten Institute at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia. He directs the executive education program on mergers and acquisitions.

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