Why Acquisitions Fail

The authors, expert observers of mergers and acquisitions, analyse the many studies describing the most common reason why such couplings fail to add value.  The success rate is remarkably low given the vast numbers of cases from which to learn.  Human nature may be less amenable to rational analysis than we think.

Andrew Campbell
and
David Sadtler

There are few topics where academics agree. In most areas of business, three academics will between them present at least four views. But not on the subject of what percentage of acquisitions succeed. There have been hundreds of studies, and the answer is something less than 50%. It is possible to find studies that score the success rate as low as 17%, as did a recent study of international acquisitions, but here are others that put the success rate as high as 65%.