Managing Mergers and Acquisitions


Treasury and the Urge to Merge

Graham Buck 28 October


It's being asserted with increasing conviction that treasury should have a clear voice in the boardroom. That means corporate treasurers being heard - and also actively involved from the outset - when their company is planning any merger and acquisition (M&A) activity.As this week's focus on treasury's role in M&A confirms, the size and number of deals has accelerated this year after a prolonged lull following the 2008 financial crisis. However, several potential unions failed to complete - most notably in the pharmaceuticals sector, where two sizeable planned deals collapsed. Alongside these failures are the deals that did complete but which rapidly came unstuck. AOL's acquisition of Time Warner in 2000 is the textbook example of a merger that turned sour, but more recently we have Hewlett-Packard's ill-fated US$11.1bn acquisition of UK software company Autonomy three years ago. It's a leading question as to whether treasury's voice was heard from the start in either deal and if these expensive disasters might otherwise have been averted.

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