Summary of The Synergy Trap

How Companies Lose the Acquisition Game

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The Synergy Trap book summary
When an author can refer to the mergers and acquisition game as “the carnivorous quest,” you want to know what else he has to say.


9 Overall

9 Applicability

10 Innovation

8 Style


Mark L. Sirower’s thought-provoking and complex book is actually a critically acclaimed academic study that challenges the reasoning behind corporate acquisitions. Pointing out that acquisitions usually devalue the acquiring companies (a loss from which they rarely recover), Sirower delves into management fundamentals and mathematical analyses to get to the bottom of merger and acquisition problems. Three detailed appendices feature plenty of financial calculations, performance measures and data from various corporate acquisitions to back up his assertions. recommends this book to those involved in mergers and acquisitions and to other readers intrigued by the inside view of this "carnivorous quest."

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why acquisitions usually do not benefit the acquiring companies
  • How to avoid the often-predictable losses that come from acquisition decisions
  • Why shareholders are the biggest losers in mergers and acquisitions


The Acquisition Game
Acquisition activity has climbed into the trillions of dollars and remains the favorite corporate growth strategy of this generation of executives, despite the very real fact that shareholder value is a casualty of most acquisitions. Despite decades of research and...
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About the Author

Mark L. Sirower is a corporate development advisor with The Boston Consulting Group and a visiting professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He consults with major corporations on merger and acquisition decisions. The Synergy Trap is based on his ground-breaking Columbia University doctoral thesis, which first gained national attention when it was cited in BusinessWeek. He lives in Manhattan.

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