Mergers and Acquisitions

Have you ever dreamt of becoming an investment banker or lawyer specialising in the fantastic world of M&As? Come and explore this interesting course…

Name of minor: Mergers and Acquisitions
Code: MINRSM008
Teaching language: English
Offered by: Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM); Department of Finance
Other programmes which are contributing to the minor: not applicable
Access: See admissions matrix


This course deals with mergers, acquisitions and other corporate restructuring activities such as leveraged buy-outs and divestitures in an international context.  The course concentrates on the motives and strategic aspects of takeovers and restructuring, the valuation of firms involved in takeovers, the role of agency conflicts (between the management and the shareholders of a corporation) in takeovers, the effect of takeovers and restructuring on shareholder value and the practical aspects of the takeover process.  It introduces the key principles and techniques of successful mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and leveraged buyouts.  Next to taking a purely financial view, we also look at the psychological aspects of corporate restructuring transactions.  For example, it has been shown that a lot of managers take over other firms simply because they are too confident about the value of the target, or because they want to boost their ego.  We will discuss academic articles as well as anecdotal evidence about these irrational elements in M&A activity.  Moreover, we will discuss the impact of the 2008-2009 financial crisis on M&A and corporate restructuring activities throughout the world.

Learning objectives:

After taking this course, you should be well equipped with all general knowledge regarding the M&A world. Specifically, you should be able to answer questions such as: Overall, do M&As pay? What are the various motivations for M&As? When do M&As make sense? What are the drivers of M&A waves? How does one value a M&A deal? What is the M&A process? What is the appropriate M&A risk management strategy? What does it take to make the "synergy" come to life? When do leveraged buy-outs make sense, and how can they be financed? etc.

The general objectives are that 1) although you may know nothing about M&A before taking the course, after taking the course you will have a broad and solid understanding of all important aspects of M&A, and 2) after taking the course you will have good knowledge of how M&A works from both theoretical and practical perspectives, and will be able to act as an analyst and analyze/evaluate/solve a real-world M&A transaction.

Specific characteristics:

Whether you will become a corporate CEO, a lawyer, a journalist, an investment banker, an engineer, an academic or an auditor, the chances are big that you will, at one point or another in your professional career, be confronted with M&A activity, either directly or indirectly.  This course is directed to a wide population of students from various backgrounds.  The required skills for the course are: Basic insights in math and statistics; good knowledge of English; some basic knowledge on corporate finance would be a plus, but is not essential


Maximum number of students that can participate in the minor: not applicable
Minimum number of students that can participate in the minor: 8

Studie load:

15 ects (420 hours)

Teaching methods:

(Interactive) lectures (incl. guest lectures) and workshops. Attendance to all lectures and workshops is mandatory.

The lectures are intended to discuss the required and optional textbooks as well as relevant academic articles. The setup of the lectures is interactive, with a lot of room for student participation. We will also try to invite guest speaker(s) that represent different viewpoints on M&A activity to our class meeting(s). Past guest speakers included a M&A partner and a M&A director from PwC, a managing director of Leonardo & Co., a senior manager from BDO Corporate Finance B.V., and a group of consultant s from the Boston Consulting Group.

During the workshops, you are expected to present and discuss the results of group assignments (e.g., case studies, discussion of academic articles, etc.). Teams consist of 3 to 4 students and need to be formed during the first lecture. In total, there will be about 5 group assignments (thus there will be 5 workshops)

Teaching materials:

Required textbook:

  • “Applied Mergers and Acquisitions” by Robert Bruner, John Wiley & Sons, 2004

Supplementary (optional) textbooks:

  • “Mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructurings” by Patrick A. Gaughan, 4th ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2007

“Valuation for Acquisitions, Buyouts and Restructuring” by Enrique Arzac, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2007


Method of examination:

The break-up of the class grade is as follows:

10% - Participation in Class Discussions

Participation in class discussions is fundamental to the learning of this course.  The in-class discussion forms an important component of learning.  Accordingly, about 10% of the course evaluation is based on your participation and contribution to in-class discussions.

50% - Workshop (group) assignments

Each group is required to turn in one and only one group report for each workshop (group) assignment.  Reports will typically be 2-3 pages long plus any supporting materials (e.g., tables and graphs).  Each group should turn in the report (in softcopy through Blackboard) before the deadline.  Grade of each workshop assignment will be given to the entire group based on the quality of your group report and in-class presentation performance.

40% - Final Exam

Exam questions will be related to the course material covered in class meetings (lectures, workshops, guest lectures, articles, plus anything discussed during the lectures and workshops).  “Review problems for exams and solutions” will be provided to prepare you for the final exam.  The final exam is closed book

Contact information

Contact person:

C.I. Huurman  
Phone: (010) 408 8836                                  
Office: T08-54

Faculty websites:

Minor website RSM

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