Over 500,000 people visited Farnam Street last month to learn howto make better decisions, create new ideas, and avoid stupid errors. With more than 100,000 subscribers to our popular weekly digest, we've become an online intellectual hub. To learn more about what we do, start here.
Contemplating a Merger?
Don't look to academics for help.
This paper is the first in a series of articles that look at the practical benefits of economics/finance literature to the world of business and policymakers and critically examines whether there is any relationship between academic thought and business or policy application. In this article I review some key studies of mergers and acquisitions that are representative for this field of study and assess their practical value for making business or policy decisions. I conclude that while this literature does provide a reasonable aggregate of what the markets are doing they form no basis whatsoever upon which judgments are made about acquisitions or mergers and they certainly are of little or no value when it comes to the strategic issues that are essential to the management. Consequently, this academic literature adds very little to our knowledge of how each specific case is to be handled. More specifically, I find very few papers from the world of economics/finance that are actually able to suggest how business combinations can be integrated post-merger, which is what seems to be of greatest value to business managers. This area has largely been left to strategy consultants and a handful of applied (business) economists.