As you can imagine by the number of different types of mergers and acquisitions, and the intensive work that goes into the M&A process, no two outcomes are the same. In this article, we outline some famous mergers and acquisitions examples, including some of the most valuable mergers per decade, as well as some super successes and notorious M&A failures. Keep reading to learn more.
Transform your M&A experience with Ansarada Deals™—start for free today!
Best merger examples: biggest deals by decade
1. 1900s: United States Steel Corporation with Carnegie Steel Company & Federal Steel Company & National Steel Company
Transaction value: USD 0.492b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 14.9897b
In a nutshell: Andrew Carnegie founded Carnegie Steel Company. Elbert H Gary founded Federal Steel Company. In 1900, Charles M Schwab became president of the Carnegie company and approached Gary with the idea of a massive consolidation. With the help of J.P. Morgan, they brought the companies together, forming the first billion-dollar corporation in American history.
2. 1910s: Midvale Steel Company with Remington Arms Company & Worth Brothers Company
Transaction value: USD 0.1b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 3.0036b
In a nutshell: Midvale Steel Co absorbed Worth Brothers and Remington Arms Co in a $100,000,000 Concern, reportedly making 2,000,000 rifles and issuing $55,000,000 stock for companies combined.
3. 1920s: Consolidated Gas Company of New York with Brooklyn Edison Company
Transaction value: USD 1b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 17.7405b
In a nutshell: The great utilities merger of the 1920s, the purchase of Brooklyn Edison by Consolidated Gas affected the distribution of light and power to millions of New Yorkers. The deal also increased Edison Power’s Kilowatt capacity on the railways.
4. 1930s: Pacific Gas and Electric Company with Great Western Power Company, San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation & Midland Counties Public Service Corporation
Transaction value: USD 0.65b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 11.8075b
In a nutshell: Several utilities were acquired by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company during the 1920s and 1930s to form the modern PG&E system.
5. 1940s: Pan American Airways with American Overseas Airlines
Transaction value: USD 0.059b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 0.75203b
In a nutshell: AOA was acquired by PAA but on May 17, 1950. The US CAB ruled against the merger, however President Harry S. Truman overturned the decision. AOA was merged into what would become Pan American's Atlantic Division.
6. 1950s: General Telephone with Sylvania Electric Products
Transaction value: USD 1.8b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 18.7647b
In a nutshell: The merger of Sylvania Electric Products, Inc., into the General Telephone Corporation was approved by stockholders of both companies. General Telephone was the surviving company under the name of General Telephone and Electronics Corporation.
7. 1960s: Atlantic Richfield with Sinclair Oil Corporation
Transaction value: USD 3.7b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 30.584b
In a nutshell: On January 1, 1969, Atlantic Richfield Company acquired oil/gas exploration company Sinclair Oil in a $3.7 billion deal, which was the largest in the industry's history at the time.
8. 1980s: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts with RJR Nabisco
Transaction value: USD 31b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 75.84b
In a nutshell: In 1988, RJR Nabisco was purchased by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co in what was at the time the largest leveraged buyout in history. In 1999, due to concerns about tobacco lawsuit liabilities, the tobacco business was spun off into a separate company, and RJR Nabisco was renamed Nabisco Holdings Corporation.
9. 1990s: Vodafone Airtouch plc with Mannesmann
Transaction value: USD 183b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 333.226b
In a nutshell: On February 4, 2000, Vodafone AirTouch PLC acquired Mannesmann AG in a deal that reshaped the mobile telecom marketplace. At the time, the cross-border transaction was the largest merger in history. It was also unique in being an unsolicited acquisition of a German company, which was unprecedented.
10. 2000s: AOL with Time Warner
Transaction value: USD 182b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 320.63b
In a nutshell: America Online Inc. (AOL) acquired Time Warner Inc. for some $182 billion in stock and debt. The result was a $350 billion mega-corporation, AOL Time Warner. However, within a few months, recession hit, the dot-com bubble burst, and the AOL-Time Warner deal was dubbed “the worst merger in history.”
11. 2010s: AB InBev with SABMiller
Transaction value: USD 107b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 136.952b
In a nutshell: In a long-awaited deal and reportedly the third largest acquisition in history (largest ever in Britain), AB InBev acquired SABMiller. The move combined two of the world’s leading beer companies, necessitating the merged company to divest itself of many brands in order to comply with anti-trust law.
12. 2020s: S&P Global with IHS Markit
Transaction value: USD 44b
Today’s value (inflation adjusted): 51.574b
In a nutshell: On 30 November 2020, S&P Global and IHS Markit released information about a definitive all-stock deal for around $44 billion, reportedly the largest deal of the year globally.
3 of our favorite successful mergers and acquisitions examples
Mass media conglomerate Disney found enormous success with two very famous acquisitions; first, of animation heavyweight Pixar, then Marvel Entertainment.
1. Successful acquisition: Disney, Pixar and Marvel
Walt Disney Co. acquired Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion, and has since seen tremendous success with films like WALL-E, Finding Dory and Toy Story 3 – each of which have generated billions of dollars in revenue for the company.
One of the main reasons for the success of this acquisition was the access it gave Disney to Pixar’s advanced animation technology. By keeping Pixar’s culture distinct, Disney was able to generate significant value without destroying what made Pixar unique or successful.
Shortly after, Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment, paying $4 billion for the entertainment company in 2009. With a highly lucrative string of Marvel films premiering at the box office since then, they have already made their money back – with more to come, no doubt.
2. Successful acquisition: Google and AndroidIn 2005, Google purchased the relatively unknown Android, a mobile startup that had been founded only a few years prior. While the exact sum is undisclosed, it’s estimated that the deal was worth approximately $50 million - a fraction of the $130 million Google spent on acquisitions that year. In fact, Google spent $1.65 billion purchasing YouTube just over a year later.
Android gave Google the mobile operating system (OS) it needed to compete with the likes of Apple and Microsoft in the growing mobile market, and expand their reach far beyond desktops.
Android has easily been Google’s most successful acquisition; when it comes to smartphones, their estimated market share is a whopping 85% (IDC).
3. Successful merger: Exxon and MobilExxon Corp. and Mobil Corp. - the first and second largest oil producers in the United States - made headlines when they announced their merger in 1998. This type of merger is a classic example of a horizontal merger. The megadeal closed at $80 billion, with investors quite literally quadrupling their money in the process.
3 failed mergers and acquisitions examples to learn from
Now considered one of the worst (and largest) M&A disasters in history, the AOL and Time Warner merger was initially anticipated to create exciting synergies and results. The deal between the communications and media giants was signed in 2000 for a massive $350 billion, but just two years later the merged company was reporting a $99 billion loss. How could it go so wrong?
1. Failed merger: AOL and Time Warner
According to sources, the integration of two very different company cultures was one of the major challenges. AOL was viewed as ‘more aggressive’ by Time Warner, a more staid and traditionally corporate culture. The two companies came to resent each other and valuable synergies were never realized. Their woes were exacerbated by the dotcom bubble and economic recession, leading to a dissolution of the merger in 2009.
2. Failed acquisition: eBay and SkypeeCommerce giant eBay purchased Skype for $2.6 billion back in 2005, thinking that buyers and sellers could better connect with their video communication tools. The acquisition was a major flop, with users continuing to prefer email to organize and execute their transactions. (Who wants to video chat with a stranger?) Skype’s management team was reportedly changed four times in four years by eBay in an attempt to salvage the acquisition, before they finally sold off 65% of the company in 2009.
3. Major failure (but the world’s largest acquisition)Vodafone Group acquired German telecom giant Mannesmann AG in 2000 for a staggering $180.95 billion. Adjusted for inflation, the deal would be worth approximately $280 billion today. While there were high hopes of reshaping and dominating the telecommunications landscape, the deal was ultimately a failure, forcing Vodafone to write off billions of dollars in the long run.
Examples of successful mergers and acquisitions run by Ansarada
1. PBL Media LtdIn 2006, an Ansarada Data Room was used to facilitate the $5 billion recapitalisation of James Packer’s company, PBL Media Limited. The deal saw the media giant sell half of its media assets, including the Nine television network, to private equity investors. The move allowed the company to ‘bankroll its ambitions in gaming and capitalise on the federal government’s changes to media ownership laws’ (Australian Financial Review).
2. Westpac and St. GeorgeIn early 2008, Westpac and St. George banks outlined their intention to merge, and the deal was approved by shareholders and the Australian Federal Court in November of the same year. The combined entity was valued at over $66 billion in the megamerger executed in Ansarada’s Virtual Data Room.
For more mergers and acquisitions examples, check out our customers page where you can watch and read stories of successful M&A transactions that have been run through Ansarada’s AI-powered platform.
“I've been doing deals with Ansarada now for going on 12 years,” said Alex Jordan, Partner at Deloitte. “From the first deal I'd ever done; being able to have that visibility, see what bidders are doing and share information very seamlessly and securely – it’s amazing how something so simple can change your life, just in terms of being able to manage the process.”
Your best chance at a successful M&A deal
Ansarada Deals is a total transaction management solution, driving outcomes through greater efficiency, data-driven insights, and reduced risk. Get started for free today.