Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Examples

We review several mergers and acquisitions examples, including some of the biggest M&A success stories and failures of all time, plus a list of the largest 2023 deal announcements.

    Mergers and acquisitions provide thought-provoking insight into finance and business, with no two deals replicating the same factors and data. Understanding the components of successful M&A through studying merger and acquisition examples can prepare you for a streamlined deal and give you practical takeaways you can apply. 

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    At Ansarada we support businesses to streamline mergers and acquisitions with tools that provide efficient, secure document redaction and sharing and virtual data rooms with end-to-end visibility of your transaction. You’ll find examples of our successful mergers below. 

    Read: 2024 M&A Forecast: Expert Opinions From 15 Industry Leaders

    What is an acquisition?

    An acquisition is where one corporation purchases another company by acquiring some or all of the company’s shares or assets. An acquisition allows the acquiring company to build its capacity, resources and skills by taking control of the acquired company’s strengths. 

    For example:

    • The largest acquisition in history: Mannesman & Vodafone Air Touch PLC
    • eBay acquired Skype in 2005 for $2.6 billion
    • Microsoft then acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011

    Successful Mergers & Acquisitions: Lessons From History

    Mergers and acquisitions have occurred as long as companies have existed, providing an opportunity for expansion, entry to new markets and an exit strategy for owners and founders. 

    These are the biggest mergers and acquisitions examples from around the world since 1900. 

    1. Reducing competition

    Year: 1901

    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 United States Steel Corporation, Federal Steel Company and National Steel Company under the Carnegie Company. 

    Key takeaway: This merger consolidated the steel industry, reducing competition and expanding the Carnegie Company to become the first billion-dollar corporation in American history. 

    2. Expanding capability into new markets 

    Year: 1915

    Midvale Steel Co acquired 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.

    Key takeaway: This merger reduced competition by acquiring Worth Brothers Company and expanded Midvale Steel’s capabilities into the manufacture of firearms. 

    3. Increasing business capacity and improving customer experience

    Year: 1928

    The great utilities merger of the 1920s, the purchase of Brooklyn Edison by Consolidated Gas created economies for the distribution of light and power to millions of New Yorkers. The deal also increased Edison Power’s Kilowatt capacity on the railways.

    Key takeaway: This merger to consolidate energy companies enabled efficiencies in light and power distribution and increased capacity with the integration of infrastructure. Energy company acquisitions are still relevant today to stay competitive in the market. 

    4. Exiting a company and consolidating infrastructure

    Year: 1930

    Purchased out of bankruptcy in 1902, the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation was acquired by the Great Western Power Company in 1924, and subsequently sold to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 1930 in exchange for stock to consolidate utilities in Northern and Central California.

    Key takeaway: Energy companies that regularly reinvent through mergers and acquisitions remain relevant to changing customer needs. 

    5. Facing or avoiding a legal challenge to an acquisition

    Year: 1949

    In 1949 Pan American Airways acquired American Export Airlines (AOA). On May 17, 1950, the United States Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) ruled against the merger on the basis that the transfer of certificates to provide airline services in particular regions and certificates to transfer assets were not approved. President Harry S. Truman overturned the decision, and AOA merged into what would become Pan American's Atlantic Division on September 25, 1950.

    Year: 1989

    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.

    Key takeaway: Thorough due diligence can help to ensure that all licences, insurance and legal documentation are in place before an acquisition, allowing the combined companies to focus on integration

    6. Effective stakeholder engagement strategies smooth the merger process

    Year: 1969
    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. Stockholders of both companies approved the merger in special meetings held in New York and Philadelphia. 

    Year: 1959

    Stockholders of both companies approved the merger of Sylvania Electric Products, Inc., into the General Telephone Corporation. The combined companies adopted the name General Telephone and Electronics Corporation.

    Key takeaways: Clear and effective communication with stakeholders at the right point in time can ensure all parties are informed to make timely decisions. 

    7. Expert advice facilitates the first unsolicited cross-border acquisition of a German company

    Year: 2000 

    On February 4, 2000, Vodafone AirTouch PLC acquired Mannesmann AG for more than US $190 billion, in a deal that reshaped the mobile telecom marketplace. At the time, the cross-border transaction was the largest merger in history. Vodafone Airtouch PLC engaged Goldman Sachs, which created the world’s largest telecom provider, as a financial advisor throughout the transaction. It was also unique in being an unsolicited acquisition of a German company, which was unprecedented.

    Key takeaway: Seek expert financial advice from an industry leader to confidently execute complex acquisitions. 

    8. Changing technology outpaces an acquisition strategy

    Year: 2000

    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, a recession hit, the dot-com bubble burst, and the AOL-Time Warner deal was dubbed “the worst merger in history.”

    Key takeaway: Sometimes even the experts don’t predict the pace of new technology adoption, resulting in an investment that doesn’t pay off. 

    9. Access to new markets means meeting regulatory requirements in each jurisdiction

    Year: 2015

    In a long-awaited deal and reportedly the third-largest acquisition in history (largest ever in Britain), AB InBev acquired SABMiller. Combining two of the world’s leading beer companies, the merged company Newbelco divested key brands to comply with anti-trust law. 

    Key takeaway: Following complex merger negotiations and court settlements, once combined the new company divested key brands to meet regulator concerns about maintaining fair competition. 

    10. Divestiture may be required before a merger

    In a deal that closed on 28 February 2022 following 2 years of negotiation, S&P Global purchased IHS Markit in a definitive all-stock deal for around $44 billion. Before the transaction could be completed, IHS Markit sold Base Chemicals to NewsCorp to alleviate concerns about fair competition. 

    Key takeaway: Divestiture may be required before a merger is allowed to ensure compliance with merger laws. Engaging with the regulators during the merger is key to meeting all legal requirements in each market. 

    11. An acquisition can ensure relevance and enable advances in technology

    Year: 2023

    Broadcom (the continuing company from the 2016 Avago Technologies and Broadcom merger) acquired VMWare for $69 billion in a cash and stock transaction. Continuing as VMWare, Broadcom expands its offering with enterprise software focusing on multi-cloud services for apps and virtualisation technology, building on its existing semiconductor and connectivity chip capabilities to address complex technological requirements. 

    Key takeaway: A smart acquisition of complementary technology can power up a company to advance its services and meet ever-changing customer demands in competitive markets. 

    Top 3 powerful mergers and acquisitions and why they were successful

    Preserving a healthy company culture: Disney, Pixar & Marvel

    Mass media conglomerate Disney found enormous success with two very famous acquisitions; first, of animation heavyweight Pixar, then Marvel Entertainment.
    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 has 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.

    Seeing potential in unknown software 

    In 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. 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 its 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). 

    Be inspired: Smaller M&A deals create more long-term value

    Horizontal mergers benefit investors with a better return on capital.

    Exxon Corp. and Mobil Corp. - the first and second largest oil producers in the United States announced their merger in 1998, closing the deal in just 282 days. The megadeal closed at $80 billion, with investors quite literally quadrupling their money in the process. Both brands continued to exist, with no noticeable change for motorists. 

    Largest multi-billion dollar M&A deals in 2023

    2023 has already seen some major M&A action. Here are some of the biggest deals ($10 billion plus) that have been announced this year.

    Announcement Date

    Companies Involved

    Deal Value

    February 2023 CVS Health and Oak Street Health $10.6 Billion
    March 2023 Silver Lake and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and SAP SE shares of Qualtrics International $12.5 Billion
    March 2023 Pfizer and Seagen $43 Billion
    April 2023 Extra Space Storage (Merger) and Life Storage $47 Billion
    April 2023 Merck and Prometheus Biosciences $11 Billion
    April 2023 Brookfield Infrastructure and Triton International $13.3 Billion
    May 2023 TD (Terminated) and First Horizon $13.4 Billion
    May 2023 Carrier Global Corporation and Viessmann Climate Solutions $13.7 Billion
    May 2023 Allkem Ltd. and Livent Corp $10.6 Billion
    June 2023 BJC Healthcare and St. Luke’s $10 Billion
    June 2023 Bunge and Viterra $18 Billion
    June 2023 Nasdaq and Adenza $10.5 Billion
    June 2023 Vodafone (Merger) and Three $18.6 Billion
    June 2023 GTCR (Stake) and Worldplay $18.5 Billion

    Successful mergers and acquisitions with Ansarada

    With an unparalleled understanding of the requirements of modern deals, Ansarada provides software that keeps everything in one secure location, allowing you to concentrate on the finer details of the merger or acquisition process. Here are just two examples out of the many deals we’ve helped to facilitate: 

    1. PBL Media Ltd

    In 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. George

    In 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 closed with confidence using Ansarada’s AI-powered platform.

    Your best chance at a successful M&A deal

    “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.”

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