10 Differences Between merger and acquisition

Merger and Acquisition: Understanding the Differences

Merger and acquisition are terms that are often used interchangeably in the business world. However, they refer to distinct processes with different implications. In this article, we will explore the definitions and examples of mergers and acquisitions, their uses, and most importantly, the key differences between them.

What is/are Merger?

A merger occurs when two or more companies combine to form a new entity. It is a strategic business move aimed at creating synergy, expanding market reach, or gaining a competitive advantage. In a merger, the companies involved often pool their assets, liabilities, and personnel to form a stronger, more comprehensive organization.

Examples of Merger

1. The merger between Disney and Pixar in 2006 created a powerhouse in the entertainment industry by combining Disney’s distribution network and brand recognition with Pixar’s innovative storytelling and animation capabilities.

2. The merger between Exxon and Mobil in 1999 formed ExxonMobil, one of the largest publicly traded companies globally, allowing for enhanced efficiency and economies of scale.

Uses of Merger

Mergers serve several purposes:

  • Increased market share and presence
  • Cost savings and synergistic benefits
  • Access to new technologies or intellectual property
  • Enhanced competitiveness and ability to face industry challenges
  • Gaining a larger customer base

What is/are Acquisition?

An acquisition refers to one company taking control of another by purchasing its shares or assets. Unlike mergers, acquisitions usually involve a dominant company absorbing a smaller entity. The acquiring company may gain control over the acquired company’s assets, technology, customer base, or talents.

Examples of Acquisition

1. Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012 allowed the social media giant to expand its user base, tap into Instagram’s younger demographic, and consolidate its dominance in the social media industry.

2. The acquisition of Skype by Microsoft in 2011 enabled Microsoft to integrate Skype’s communication technology into its product ecosystem, enhancing its offerings and diversifying revenue streams.

Uses of Acquisition

Acquisitions are valuable for:

  • Gaining instant market access or entry into new markets
  • Obtaining competitive advantages and filling gaps in product/service offerings
  • Consolidating industry dominance and eliminating competition
  • Expanding customer base and diversifying revenue streams
  • Acquiring talented individuals or teams

Differences Table

Key Differences between Merger and Acquisition
Difference Area Merger Acquisition
Legal Structure Creates a new entity Acquirer maintains its legal structure
Size of Companies Usually involves companies of similar size and strength Typically involves a larger company acquiring a smaller one
Control Joint control by both merging entities Controlled by the acquiring company
Branding Merged entities may adopt a new brand identity Acquired company’s brand may be retained or phased out
Financial Impact Shares of both merging entities are typically exchanged Acquirer acquires shares or assets of the target company
Employee Impact Job redundancies may occur due to consolidation Acquiring company gains control over employees of the target company
Regulatory Approval May require regulatory approval depending on the scale and impact of the merger May require regulatory approval depending on antitrust regulations
Integration Challenges Integration of systems, cultures, and processes can be complex Integration focuses on absorbing the target company into existing operations
Risk Level Risks and rewards are shared between the merging entities Risks and rewards are assumed by the acquiring company
Purpose Create synergies and mutual growth Expand market presence and eliminate competition


In summary, the key differences between mergers and acquisitions lie in the legal structure, size of companies involved, control, branding, financial impact, employee impact, regulatory approval requirements, integration challenges, risk levels, and purposes. While mergers focus on joint collaboration and synergy, acquisitions empower a dominant company to expand its market presence and eliminate competition.

People Also Ask

Here are some commonly asked questions about mergers and acquisitions:

1. Is a merger the same as an acquisition?
No, although they are related terms, mergers and acquisitions refer to distinct processes with different implications. Mergers involve the creation of a new entity, while acquisitions involve one company taking control of another.

2. Why do companies merge?
Companies merge to leverage synergies, increase market share, access new technologies or markets, enhance competitiveness, and gain a larger customer base.

3. What are the risks of mergers and acquisitions?
Mergers and acquisitions may involve operational challenges, cultural clashes, regulatory hurdles, financial risks, and potential job redundancies.

4. Do all mergers and acquisitions require regulatory approval?
The need for regulatory approval largely depends on the size, impact, and jurisdiction-specific antitrust regulations.

5. How do mergers and acquisitions affect employees?
Mergers and acquisitions can lead to job redundancies, organizational restructuring, and changes in company culture. However, they can also present opportunities for career growth and new responsibilities.

By understanding the differences between mergers and acquisitions, businesses can make informed decisions when pursuing strategic partnerships or growth opportunities.

Leave a Comment

content of this page is protected

Scroll to Top