Growth through mergers and acquisitions can provide an attractive means to jump start a stagnant company, leverage its core competencies or diversify into attractive adjacent markets, but it is a strategic path fraught with risks. How do you develop and implement an acquisition growth strategy for a company? When is it the best course versus alternative growth strategies? What is the “perfect fit” test for evaluating target companies? How do you actually negotiate a deal? What are the mechanics in the deal process, from letter of intent and due diligence through closing and integration? Each step in the process will be examined. We will answer these questions as we give students a primer on how to grow through acquisition, including such topics as merger strategy, antitrust considerations, deal structure, valuation, negotiation tactics, legal considerations, due diligence, closing the deal and post-closing integration. There will be a unit on how to use a leveraged buyout approach to become an entrepreneur and business owner yourself. The course will conclude with modules covering hostile takeovers and international acquisitions.
The class format each week will start with a lecture and finish with a discussion of a different acquisition case. Several outside speakers will provide a real world perspective on the deal business. Two written assignments will require you to utilize a financial model (provided) in analyzing the pricing for an actual target company. One of these cases will provide the basis for a simulation exercise requiring you to negotiate the purchase/sale price of the company, which can then be compared to what actually happened. For your final project, in lieu of an exam, you will form small teams and analyze a major public company merger of recent years, including its pricing, synergies, financing and integration issues. The course will thus interweave three M&A strands: strategic considerations, operational methodologies and financial modeling techniques. Upon completion of the course, if you have been diligent, you will be ready to acquire your first company.