Mergers and Acquisitions

Broadening minor
Minor code
10 weeks


Since the late 1990s and until the burst of the 2008–09 global financial crisis, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in both domestic and international mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the world. Corporate finance theory suggests that takeovers and corporate restructuring can serve as an effective strategic tool for companies to respond to changes in the economic environment and, thus, create value for their shareholders.

This course deals with mergers, acquisitions and other corporate restructuring activities 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 management and shareholders) 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, the course also looks at the psychological aspects of corporate restructuring transactions. The course discusses academic articles as well as anecdotal evidence about irrational elements in M&A activity. Moreover, it discusses the impact of the 2008–09 financial crisis on M&A and corporate restructuring activities throughout the world. This course addresses such crucial questions as: Why do takeover deals that looked great on paper fail in reality? How does one value companies acquiring, or being acquired? What is the best negotiation strategy? How can one properly manage risks when designing a deal? What does it take to make the “synergy” come to life? When do leveraged buy-outs make sense, and how can they be financed?

Learning objectives

  • Gaining a broad and solid understanding of all important aspects of M&A so the student is able to discuss this variety of aspects that come into play during a transaction and use and compare these aspects with real or realistic examples.
  • Having good knowledge of how M&A works from both theoretical and practical perspectives so that the student is able to describe and discuss the entire process of a merger or acquisition.
  • Being able to analyze a real-world M&A transaction rigorously and form an opinion about it.
  • Learning how to work in a team, and be able to “pitch” ideas in a competitive environment

Special aspects

This course is directed to a wide population of students from various backgrounds. There are no official prerequisites for this course. However, it is strongly recommended that you have some knowledge on Corporate Finance, Financial Statement Analysis/Accounting and Business Economics.

In general, students who do not study business or economics, but do have other quantitative courses in their main studies, perform well in this course.

All RSM minors have mandatory attendance.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures where the broad overview is provided
  • Workshops where students have to present and discuss their business cases

Teaching Materials

  • Several chapters from the book “ Applied Mergers and Acquisitions” by R. Bruner (2004)
  • Several (academic) articles
  • Lecture Slides
  • Cases


Method of examination

  • Group assignments are related to specific M&A topics. Each group is required to turn in four group assignments, which are typically 4-5 pages long plus any supporting materials (e.g., tables and graphs). Group assignments are in turn discussed during the workshops. There is no re-sit possibility for the group assignment and therefore no minimum grade.
  • The written test: test questions are related to the course material covered (lectures, workshops, textbook chapters and articles, plus anything discussed during the course).

Composition final grade

30% group assignments, 70% written test
To be eligible to obtain a final grade, your written test grade needs to be at least 4.5. Your overall grade must be at least 5.5 to pass the course.

Feedback will be provided face-to-face in class and during office hours.

Frequently Asked Questions


Contact information

Stefan van Kampen
+31 (0) 10 408 1022                                  
room: T08-42

Broadening minor
Minor code
10 weeks
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Study points (EC)
Instruction language
Campus Woudestein


Please read the application procedure for more information. 

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