Mergers and Acquisitions
At some point in time, virtually every business reporter will write a story about one company buying another. It is like a police reporter writing a story about a murder. Both of these news events happen with regularity. In 2001, there were more than 8,600 mergers or acquisitions valued at more than $640 billion. In 2003, there were more than 7,300 mergers or acquisitions of U.S. companies, worth more than $470 billion, according to www.mergerstat.com, a Web site that tracks merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. Although those numbers seem large, they are actually down from previous years. These figures exclude deals in Europe, where the number of M&A transactions, and their values, were higher in both 2001 and 2002.
Simply put, mergers and acquisitions occur with such regularity that they have become a staple of business reporting. And because of the frequency, it is important for journalists to understand how and why M&A occur, and what information is important for readers and viewers to receive. Virtually every huge company, and plenty of small ones too, were created by a merger or an acquisition, sometimes several. Citigroup is the combination of the former Citibank and Travelers; AOL Time Warner was created by the merger of America Online with Time Warner,