Mergers  and  acquisitions  (M&A)  are  both  aspects  of  strategic management,  corporate  finance  and  management  dealing  with  the  buying, selling, dividing and combining of different companies and similar entities that can help an enterprise grow rapidly in its sector or location of origin, or a new field or new location, without creating a subsidiary, other child entity or using a joint venture.
M&A can be defined as a type of restructuring in that they result in some entity reorganization with the aim to provide growth or positive value. Consolidation of an industry or sector occurs when widespread M&A activity concentrates the resources of many small companies into a few larger ones, such as occurred with the automotive industry between 1910 and 1940. From a legal point of view, a merger is a legal consolidation of two companies into one entity, whereas an acquisition occurs when one company takes over another and completely establishes itself as the new owner (in which case the target  company  still  exists  as  an  independent  legal  entity  controlled  by  the acquirer). Either structure can result in the economic and financial consolidation of the two entities.
Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
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