Mergers and acquisitions : do they create shareholder value?
The topic of mergers and acquisitions, and their ability to create shareholder value, is one that continues to raise a fair amount of debate. Many studies have been carried out, both locally and abroad. They have attempted to analyse the wealth effects of mergers and acquisitions on both the shareholders of the acquiring and acquired firms. In some instances the findings have been fairly consistent across companies on the various stock exchanges, while other have produced controversial results. Generally the findings regarding the acquired firms have been consistent, across most studies, but the results regarding the acquiring firms has been less straightforward. This paper discusses the various types of mergers and acquisitions that a company may undertake, as well as the possible rationale for undertaking such investments. Some of the more recent and well-known studies that have been undertaken are then discussed, and an attempt is made to find a common thread amongst all the various studies. Further factors which "research has found to have an impact on the success or failure of mergers and acquisitions are then discussed, with the purpose of trying to identify the key reasons for merger failure, and hence the failure to create shareholder value for the acquiring firm. In other words, what are the traits or key factors that lead to successful mergers and acquisitions, ones that do not destroy shareholder value? Finally, the area of divestitures is discussed, because it is often believed that they are a key admission of the failure of past merger activity. Trends in merger and divestiture activity are also examined. Finally, a conclusion is drawn from the various studies and readings that have been done. The basis of this paper is primarily a secondary literature review. Two case studies are then undertaken; one which focus's on acquisitions by an IT Company which fail to create shareholder value, and the second examines an unrelated acquisition and subsequent divestiture by a listed company in the transport sector. A significant limitation that was encountered in doing research on the topic was the lack of availability of recent studies undertaken. The majority of the work done on this subject was researched during the 1960's to 1980's. With the only significant South African study being conducted by Aftleck-Graves et al in 1988. Although recent articles and commentary on the subject have been written in the late 1990's, I was unable to find any recent studies. The majority of research undertaken has also been done in the American and European markets, with as mentioned, only one or two studies being conducted on the JSE.