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Airmic regularly carries out research, and publishes the results in the form of reports, guides and benchmarking documents.

Mergers and acquisitions: Navigating challenging waters


Airmic, McGill & Partners 19th June 2023


Mergers and acquisitions present boards with a myriad of threats and opportunities, among which one of the few certainties is that remaining on the sidelines is not a realistic option. That is as true for profitable companies with substantial cash reserves as it is for companies experiencing more challenging trading conditions. The UK has largely avoided the surge of litigation in the US in which allegations that companies either paid too much to acquire other companies or allowed themselves to be bought too cheaply were commonplace. Nevertheless, that risk still exists. One of the most notorious examples is the transatlantic takeover by Hewlett Packard of Autonomy plc in the UK. The consequences of that still linger on with the unsuccessful battle by Mike Lynch to fight extradition to the US to face charges of wire fraud (among others) following one of the largest civil fraud cases ever in the UK.

The aim of this Guide is to provide a toolkit to assist directors in understanding and keeping pace with this fast-changing and increasingly complex landscape. It takes the form of 12 questions designed to break the diverse set of issues down into a manageable series of topics. The list is not exhaustive and answers to each question will vary tremendously depending on the size, maturity and nature of an organisation’s operations. Nevertheless, in response to each question, we identify a range of issues which are likely to be relevant.

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