Acquisition Integration Approaches

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The Acquisition Integration Approaches model of Philippe Haspeslagh and David Jemison provides insight and guidance in Mergers and Acquisitions on choosing the optimal integration approach.


In Mergers and Acquisitions, the motto often traditionally was: "Make them like us". Or relatively simple criteria were used to choose an approach. Such as the size and quality of the acquired firm.


Haspeslagh and Jemison (1990) have stated that the approach, which a company should take towards integration, should be understood by considering two (additional) criteria:

  1. The need for strategic interdependenceM&A - Acquisition Integration Approaches.
  2. The need for organizational autonomy.

Four Types of value creation in Mergers and Acquisitions

Obviously, the goal and central task in any acquisition is to create the value that is enabled when the two organizations are combined. There are four types of value creation:

  1. Resource sharing. Value is created by combining the companies at the operating level.
  2. Functional skills transfer. Value is created by moving certain people or sharing information, knowledge and know-how.
  3. Transfer of general management skills. Value is created through improved insight, coordination or control.
  4. Combination benefits. Value is created by leveraging cash resources, by borrowing capacity, by increased purchasing power or by greater market power.

Organizational Autonomy

Haspeslagh and Jemison warn that managers must not lose sight of the fact that the strategic task of an acquisition is to create value. Furthermore they must not grant autonomy too quickly, although obviously people are important and should be treated fairly and with dignity. The need for organizational autonomy can be answered using three questions:

  1. Is autonomy essential to preserving the strategic capability we have bought?
  2. If the answer to question 1 is positive, how much autonomy should be allowed?
  3. In which specific areas is autonomy important?

The Preferred Mergers and Acquisitions model

Depending on the score on the above two factors (see graph), the preferred Acquisition Integration Approaches are:

  • Absorption. Management should be courageous to ensure that this vision for the acquisition is carried out.
  • Preservation. Management focus is: to keep the source of the acquired benefits intact, "nurturing".
  • Symbiosis. Management must ensure simultaneous boundary preservation and boundary permeability, gradual process.
  • Holding. No intention of integrating and value is created only by financial transfers, risk-sharing or general management capability.

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