Mergers and acquisitions: Exec-ed programmes for future experts

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In 2015, Kraft Foods Group Inc. said it will merge with H.J. Heinz Co. to form the third largest food and beverage company in North America with revenue of about US$28 billion.

By Shekinah Kannan 

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In 2017, Amazon bought Whole Foods for a whopping 13.7 billion US dollars, sparking curiosity about why the e-commerce giant was buying a supermarket chain.

Today, Amazon Fresh — Amazon’s grocery pickup and delivery service — is available to Prime members in major US cities and certain cities worldwide. The company’s acquisition of the health food grocer required the expertise of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) professionals.

Both mergers and acquisitions are forms of transactions, essentially in regards to the ownership of a company or organisation. These deals enable businesses to scale up or down.

There are many benefits of growing a business through a merger or acquisition. This could include obtaining staff and gaining knowledge of a particular industry and business intelligence.


A merger involves the consolidation of two businesses into one; acquisitions involve one company taking ownership of another.

The acquired company maintains its name and legal structure, such as in the case of Amazon and Whole Foods. These deals do not happen overnight – some take months, others take years. 

It’s not an easy process, and M&A professionals need a host of skills for the job. That said, mastering the many elements that are specific to M&A are not covered in a general finance education, which are why dedicated executive education courses can be useful for anyone looking to build their knowledge in the field. 

Dedicated courses will help aspiring professionals to possess good business acumen, understand what drives businesses and industries, and gain the negotiation skills required to convince organisations to buy or sell.

Here are three executive education courses worth considering:

Mergers and Acquisitions by London Business School 

This five-day-long online programme was designed for senior managers and business leaders who aspire to get involved in growing their organisation through M&A. 

During the duration of the course, learners will develop a strong acquisitions strategy; they will learn to finance a deal; deliver improved growth and shareholder value; judge if M&A fits a corporate strategy and which companies should be considered; determine a company’s worth; investigate valuations and buyouts; and more.

Mergers and Acquisitions by Colorado State University

This programme by the university’s College of Business is taught by industry expert, Scott Myatt, managing director of Caber Hill Advisors’ healthcare team. There, he leads M&A activities in the audiology and hearing aid industry. 

The course helps professionals learn the steps involved in a successful merger or acquisition; understand the tools used in acquiring, prospecting, valuing the target, creating and presenting the offer, and doing due diligence in closing the deal; knowing when to walk away from a deal; and gain insight into the overall market. 


Mergers and Acquisitions by Imperial College Business School

For a more in-depth option, this 11-week online programme will lead participants through both the financial and strategic aspects of corporate restructuring. Throughout the online programme, professionals will identify the functions, benefits, and challenges of various forms of mergers and acquisitions.

Upon completion, individuals will be equipped to participate in a successful M&A deal, from identifying the benefits for both buyer and seller, to establishing valuation, to leveraging bidding techniques.