Mergers & Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is a general term that refers to the consolidation of companies or assets. M&A can include a number of different transactions, such as mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, tender offers, purchase of assets and management acquisitions. In all cases, two companies are involved. The term M&A also refers to the department at financial institutions that deals with mergers and acquisitions.
Merger In a merger, the boards of directors for two companies approve the combination and seek shareholders’ approval. After the merger, the acquired company ceases to exist and becomes part of the acquiring company. For example, in 2007 a merger deal occurred between Digital Computers and Compaq whereby Compaq absorbed Digital Computers.
Acquisition: In a simple acquisition, the acquiring company obtains the majority stake in the acquired firm, which does not change its name or legal structure. An example of this transaction is Manulife Financial Corporation’s 2004 acquisition of John Hancock Financial Services, where both companies preserved their names and organizational structures.