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A celebration of the 100 most influential advisors and their contributions to critical conversations on finance. The latest markets news, real time quotes, financials and more. 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 following will review some of the different kinds of financial transactions that occur when companies engage in mergers and acquisitions activity. Acquisitions Overview 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. 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. Consolidation: A consolidation creates a new company.
Stockholders of both companies must approve the consolidation, and subsequent to the approval, they receive common equity shares in the new firm. For example, in 1998 Citicorp and Traveler’s Insurance Group announced a consolidation, which resulted in Citigroup. Tender Offer: In a tender offer, one company offers to purchase the outstanding stock of the other firm at a specific price. The acquiring company communicates the offer directly to the other company’s shareholders, bypassing the management and board of directors. Acquisition of Assets: In a purchase of assets, one company acquires the assets of another company. The company whose assets are being acquired must obtain approval from its shareholders.
Often, these former executives partner with a financier or former corporate officers in order to help fund a transaction. A transaction is typically financed disproportionately with debt, and the majority of shareholders must approve it. What’s the Difference Between a Merger and an Acquisition? Although they are often uttered in the same breath and used as though they were synonymous, the terms merger and acquisition mean slightly different things.
An acquisition takes place when one company takes over all of the operational management decisions of another. In practice, friendly mergers of equals do not take place very frequently. It’s uncommon that two companies would benefit from combining forces and two different CEOs agree to give up some authority to realize those benefits. When this does happen, the stocks of both companies are surrendered and new stocks are issued under the name of the new business identity. Since mergers are so uncommon and takeovers are viewed in a derogatory light, the two terms have become increasingly conflated and used in conjunction with one another. Varieties of Mergers From the perspective of business structures, there is a whole host of different mergers.
Horizontal merger – Two companies that are in direct competition and share the same product lines and markets. Vertical merger – A customer and company or a supplier and company. Think of a cone supplier merging with an ice cream maker. Congeneric mergers – Two businesses that serve the same consumer base in different ways, such as a TV manufacturer and a cable company.
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Market-extension merger – Two companies that sell the same products in different markets. Product-extension merger – Two companies selling different but related products in the same market. Conglomeration – Two companies that have no common business areas. There are two types of mergers that are distinguished by how the merger is financed.
Purchase Mergers – As the name suggests, this kind of merger occurs when one company purchases another. Acquiring companies often prefer this type of merger because it can provide them with a tax benefit. Consolidation Mergers – With this merger, a brand new company is formed and both companies are bought and combined under the new entity. The tax terms are the same as those of a purchase merger. Details of Acquisitions In an acquisition, as in some mergers, a company can buy another company with cash, stock or a combination of the two.
Another possibility, which is common in smaller deals, is for one company to acquire all the assets of another company. Another type of acquisition is a reverse merger, a deal that enables a private company to get publicly-listed in a relatively short time period. A reverse merger occurs when a private company that has strong prospects and is eager to acquire financing buys a publicly-listed shell company, usually one with no business and limited assets. A deal will have different ideas about the worth of a target company: Its seller will tend to value the company at as high of a price as possible, while the buyer will try to get the lowest price that he can. There are, however, many legitimate ways to value companies. The most common method is to look at comparable companies in an industry, but deal makers employ a variety of other methods and tools when assessing a target company.
With the use of this ratio, an acquiring company makes an offer that is a multiple of the earnings of the target company. With this ratio, the acquiring company makes an offer as a multiple of the revenues, again, while being aware of the price-to-sales ratio of other companies in the industry. In a few cases, acquisitions are based on the cost of replacing the target company. For simplicity’s sake, suppose the value of a company is simply the sum of all its equipment and staffing costs. The acquiring company can literally order the target to sell at that price, or it will create a competitor for the same cost. Naturally, it takes a long time to assemble good management, acquire property and get the right equipment. A, discounted cash flow analysis determines a company’s current value according to its estimated future cash flows.
The Premium for Potential Success For the most part, acquiring companies nearly always pay a substantial premium on the stock market value of the companies they buy. It would be highly unlikely for rational owners to sell if they would benefit more by not selling. That means buyers will need to pay a premium if they hope to acquire the company, regardless of what pre-merger valuation tells them. For sellers, that premium represents their company’s future prospects. For buyers, the premium represents part of the post-merger synergy they expect can be achieved. In other words, the success of a merger is measured by whether the value of the buyer is enhanced by the action.
However, the practical constraints of mergers, which we discuss in part five, often prevent the expected benefits from being fully achieved. Alas, the synergy promised by dealmakers might just fall short. What to Look For It’s hard for investors to know when a deal is worthwhile. The burden of proof should fall on the acquiring company.
Stay away from companies that participate in such contests. Companies that pay in cash tend to be more careful when calculating bids and valuations come closer to target. When stock or equity is used as the currency for acquisition, discipline can go by the wayside. An acquiring company should be targeting a company that is smaller and in businesses that the acquiring company knows intimately.
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Synergy is hard to create from companies in disparate business areas. Sadly, companies have a bad habit of biting off more than they can chew in mergers. Mergers are awfully hard to get right, so investors should look for acquiring companies with a healthy grasp of reality. Regardless of their category or structure, all mergers and acquisitions have one common goal: they are all meant to create synergies that make the value of the combined companies greater than the sum of the two parts. The success of a merger or acquisition depends on whether this synergy is achieved. Synergy takes the form of revenue enhancement and cost savings.
A to grow in size and leapfrog their rivals. While it can take years or decades to double the size of a company through organic growth, this can be achieved much more rapidly through mergers or acquisitions. A activity occurs in distinct cycles. The urge to snap up a company with an attractive portfolio of assets before a rival does so generally results in a feeding frenzy in hot markets. However, since a combination of two behemoths would result in a potential monopoly, such a transaction would have to run the gauntlet of intense scrutiny from anti-competition watchdogs and regulatory authorities. A for tax purposes, although this may be an implicit rather than an explicit motive. Staff reductions: As every employee knows, mergers tend to mean job losses.
Consider all the money saved from reducing the number of staff members from accounting, marketing, and other departments. Job cuts will also probably include the former CEO, who typically leaves with a compensation package. Economies of scale: Yes, size matters. Whether it’s purchasing stationery or a new corporate IT system, a bigger company placing the orders can save more on costs. Mergers also translate into improved purchasing power to buy equipment or office supplies—when placing larger orders, companies have a greater ability to negotiate prices with their suppliers. Acquiring new technology: To stay competitive, companies need to stay on top of technological developments and their business applications. By buying a smaller company with unique technologies, a large company can maintain or develop a competitive edge.
Improved market reach and industry visibility: Companies buy companies to reach new markets and grow revenues and earnings. A merger may expand two companies’ marketing and distribution, giving them new sales opportunities. A merger can also improve a company’s standing in the investment community: bigger firms often have an easier time raising capital than smaller ones. Sadly, synergy opportunities may exist only in the minds of the corporate leaders and the deal makers. The market, however, eventually sees through this and penalizes the company by assigning it a discounted share price. Mergers and Acquisitions-Prone Industries Mergers and acquisitions are most common in the health care, technology, financial services, retail and, lately, the utilities sectors. In health care, many small and medium-sized companies find it difficult to compete in the marketplace with the handful of behemoths in the field.
A rapidly changing landscape in the health-care industry, with government legislation leading the way, has posed difficulties for small and medium companies that lack the capital to keep up with these changes. The technology industry moves so rapidly that, like health care, it takes a massive presence and huge financial backing for companies to remain relevant. When a new idea or product hits the scene, industry giants such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft have the money to perfect it and bring it to market. Many smaller companies, instead of unsuccessfully trying to compete, join forces with the big industry players. Throughout the 21st century, particularly during the late 2000s, merger and acquisition activity has been constant in the financial services industry. Many companies that were unable to withstand the downturn brought on by the financial crisis of 2007-2008 were acquired by competitors, in some cases with the government overseeing and assisting in the process. The retail sector is highly cyclical in nature.
General economic conditions maintain a high level of influence on how well retail companies perform. When times are good, consumers shop more, and these firms do well. During hard times, however, retail suffers as people count pennies and limit their spending to necessities. In the retail sector, much of the merger and acquisition activity takes place during these downturns. As have picked up in the utilities sector. After a brief downturn in the immediate wake of the financial crisis of 2008, the pace of acquisitions has risen, especially between 2012 and 2015, driven primarily by a basic focus on operational efficiency and resulting profitability. The fallout from the 2008 financial crisis saw a number of weaker firms, but ones with significant assets, become ripe as takeover targets, especially in Europe.
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When the CEO and top managers of a company decide that they want to do a merger or acquisition, they start with a tender offer. The process typically begins with the acquiring company carefully and discreetly buying up shares in the target company, or building a position. Working with financial advisors and investment bankers, the acquiring company will arrive at an overall price that it’s willing to pay for its target in cash, shares or both. A letter of intent, or LOI, is used to set forth the terms of a proposed merger or acquisition.
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It provides a general overview of the proposed deal. The LOI may include the purchase price, whether it is a stock or cash deal and other elements of the proposed deal. After the LOI is submitted, the buyer performs significant due diligence on the seller’s business. An LOI does not have to be legally binding upon the parties unless the terms of the LOI specifically state it is, or it may include both binding and non-binding provisions. There may be provisions stating the buyer agrees to keep all confidential information it sees during due diligence secret. If the target firm’s top managers and shareholders are happy with the terms of the transaction, they will go ahead with the deal.
The tender offer price may not be high enough for the target company’s shareholders to accept, or the specific terms of the deal may not be attractive. Mergers and acquisitions can face scrutiny from regulatory bodies. For example, if the two biggest long-distance companies in the U. The FCC would probably regard a merger of the two giants as the creation of a monopoly or, at the very least, a threat to competition in the industry. Finally, once the target company agrees to the tender offer and regulatory requirements are met, the merger deal will be executed by means of some transaction. In a merger in which one company buys another, the acquiring company will pay for the target company’s shares with cash, stock or both.
A cash-for-stock transaction is fairly straightforward: target company shareholders receive a cash payment for each share purchased. This transaction is treated as a taxable sale of the shares of the target company. If the transaction is made with stock instead of cash, then it’s not taxable. There is simply an exchange of share certificates.
A deals are carried out as stock-for-stock transactions. When a company is purchased with stock, new shares from the acquiring company’s stock are issued directly to the target company’s shareholders, or the new shares are sent to a broker who manages them for target company shareholders. The shareholders of the target company are only taxed when they sell their new shares. What Merger And Acquisition Firms Do The merger or acquisition deal process can be intimidating and this is where the merger and acquisition firms step in, to facilitate the process by taking on the responsibility for a fee. The various types of merger and acquisition firms are discussed below. Investment banks perform a variety of specialized roles. They carry out transactions involving huge amounts, in areas such as underwriting.
The role of an investment bank in the procedure typically involves vital market intelligence in addition to preparing a list of prospective targets. Then once the client is sure of the targeted deal, an assessment of the current valuation is done to know the price expectations. All the documentation, management meetings, negotiation terms and closing documents are handled by the representatives of the investment bank. Corporate law firms are popular among companies looking to expand externally through a merger or acquisition, especially companies with international borders. Such deals are more complex as they involve different laws governed by different jurisdictions thus requiring very specialized legal handling. The international law firms are best suited for this job with their expertise on multi-jurisdiction matters. These companies also handle merger and acquisitions deals with obvious specialization in auditing, accounting, and taxation.