What is the difference between a carny barker and an academician with a mission?
Well, really, basically, nothing.
Both are out to sell you something and will use any degree of intimidation to do it.
So The Merger Verger had a good chuckle the other day in running across an academic treatise on M&A that basically slammed academic treatises on M&A. It came from the Journal of Financial Transformation published by the Capco Institute in the UK. Author Shahin Shojia’s paper looked at the “practical benefits” to be found in academic studies of M&A and found them absent.
While such studies on M&A do, according to Shojia, “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 managing the M&A process.
Whew! That’s nasty!
I will leave you with this quote:
If one buys the argument that with the exception of exceptionally bad acquisitions, it is close to impossible to determine the success of [a transaction beforehand], and most managers acknowledge this, then the only issue that is of importance is the management of the post-acquisition period.
Integration professionals take heart: strategists and deal types may get quoted in the press but we are the ones that create value.