Mergers and acquisitions in the business world have been a long-time strategy incorporated (no pun intended) by companies in order to keep operations going. Basically, what happens is a company that enters into a merger and acquisition agreement with another company transfers ownership of its assets to the organization “buying them” for a set price.
Companies can either join forces and pool their finances in order to strengthen their competitive advantage or the purchasing company can outright absorb the entire purchased business into their operations.
There are several strategic reasons why such a legal process would be undergone by the parties involved. Some of these include reducing the competitors in the market and diversifying products and services.
Here are some of the world’s largest mergers and acquisitions that have ever been documented.
20. Verizon and Vodafone
Verizon Communications, an industry leader in the communications market, had entered into a merger agreement with the United Kingdom-based company Vodafone in order to introduce Verizon Wireless to its customers.
Vodafone had ultimately surrendered its claim in the American market and a deal was reached worth around $130 billion.
19. Pfizer and Warner-Lambert
In recent times, especially during the COVID pandemic, Pfizer has become a household name to many families all over the world. The company had also made rounds previously after entering an acquisition agreement with fellow pharmaceuticals company Warner-Lambert worth $90 billion.
After Warner-Lambert had failed to come to a conclusion with other companies that resulted in large losses, Pfizer rescued the company from further demise. In the process, Pfizer acquired a high-demand drug called Lipitor which turned in profits amounting to $13 billion.
18. Heinz and Kraft
Heinz — also called H.J. Heinz Corporation — created a merger deal with Kraft Food Group that saw the birth of The Kraft Heinz Company which at the time analysts had predicted would break industry records and launch the merged business all the way up to the top performing food companies in the world. The deal was concluded at around $100 billion.
17. AT&T and Time Warner
The telecommunications giant AT&T had entered into a merger with Time Warner for the purpose of driving up both companies’ profits through enhanced content distribution which prioritized mobile viewing as its first order of business.
After talks had been finalized, the merger was set at a value of $85.4 billion, a value between two giant corporations that was so enormous that American authorities had to enter the conversation in order to mediate and iron out any issues.
16. Disney and Pixar (Marvel)
The entertainment industry giant Disney has been a constant presence in many of the world’s biggest merger and acquisition agreements. However, one of the biggest acquisitions that Disney had ever entered into is a deal with the blockbuster animation studio Pixar which was valued at around $7.4 billion.
Always on the move, Disney had entered into another acquisition agreement years later, this time with Marvel Studios for a handsome $4 billion price tag which saw Disney gain full ownership of hit storylines and characters such as The Avengers and Spiderman.
15. Google and Android
A blockbuster deal was solidified between the tech giant Google and Android for around $50 million. Back then, Android was not as known as it was currently, however, Google’s uncommon yet wise move paid off in the end as it was consequently able to launch a system that is well-performing enough to compete with the industry’s biggest mobile companies such as Apple.
To this date, Google Android devices have captured a huge chunk of the market.
14. Exxon and Mobil
The oil giants Exxon and Mobil had entered into a merger agreement that many would agree is one of the most lucrative moves in the world of business to this date.
The deal was finalized at a staggering amount of $80 billion, while the move was questioned by some at the time since both companies were already at the top of their game — the agreement nonetheless produced great financial results for the merged business in the long run.
13. America Online and Time Warner
The acquisition agreement where web provider America Online — also known as AOL — was able to absorb cable company Time Warner is still viewed as one of the biggest acquisitions in United States history.
Recording a huge price tag of $286 billion adjusted for inflation, the deal came about from AOL’s intention to spread its reach towards sectors such as entertainment and news. However, after some time, the difference in company cultures eventually took a toll on the two organizations parted ways.
12. Dow Chemical and DuPont
The merger agreement of chemicals industry giant Dow Chemical with its fellow competitor DuPont reached a cool $130 billion after the companies finalized their deal. The resulting company name was called DowDuPont Inc. and the business centralized its focus on sectors such as materials science, specialty goods, and agriculture.
A restructuring plan that saw the company break up into different sub-divisions handling different tasks was the underlying strategy of the merger between the chemical companies.
11. Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller
Anheuser-Busch InBev, a massive Belgian brewing company, acquired its competitor SABMiller through a deal that fetched a price of $104 billion. The deal’s top priority was to capitalize on their shared strengths in order to dominate emerging markets that have been documented to have growth potential.
These areas that had high chances of turning in profits were expected to yield impressive results for the merged brewing business.
10. Disney and 21st Century Fox
Ever the entertainment giant, Disney had also moved to acquire the mass media company 21st Century Fox. Finalizing a deal, Disney had officially acquired the latter company and all the rights to its content for a massive $71.3 billion.
At the time, the business move was considered by many as one of the largest acquisitions that Disney had ever made in its company history. Some organizations that have been effectively transferred to Disney’s ownership through the deal include 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, Fox News, and National Geographic TV.
9. Dell and EMC Corporation
Considered to be the biggest acquisition to take place in the technology industry, the tech giant Dell had struck up a deal with EMC — a business known for offering services such as data storage and cloud computing — to acquire all of the latter’s operations in order to push their agendas forward.
Contracts were concluded at a value of $67 billion — an amount that remains to be one of the biggest acquisition deals to this date.
8. United Technologies and Raytheon
United Technologies, a company involved with producing engines designed for aircraft and aerospace systems, had moved to merge with fellow aerospace giant Raytheon in order to create a new organization called Raytheon Technologies.
The total amount recorded from the deal was an impressive $128 billion. The move was considered a strategy to enhance the aerospace and defense services provided by the two companies through the combined data and experience of the organizations.
7. Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable
Charter Communications is an American mass media company that was most known for its services offered under the brand name Spectrum. Known as the second-largest cable operator in the country, the company had enough finances to seek out more profit-making business — this included an acquisition deal with Time Warner Cable.
The merger deal between the two media powerhouses was finalized at an amount of $78 billion (estimated at $90 billion when adjusted for inflation). The deal was announced as a move to enhance current operations by improving video products and better broadband speeds among other plans to develop current business practices.
6. Comcast and AT&T Broadband
Another telecommunications deal that raised eyebrows in the industry was a merger between two massive companies in the market, Comcast and AT&T Broadband. After conducting negotiations that lasted for around half a year, a deal was reached between the two parties that saw Comcast acquiring the Broadband and Cable Television departments of AT&T for an estimated amount of $72 billion.
The newly merged organization founded from the deal was officially called AT&T Comcast Corporation. The merger has allowed the creation of a company that would possess over 22 million subscribers at the time of the agreement with a lead in over 17 of the biggest metropolitan sectors in the entire country. The merger was called one of the most significant acquisitions that would enhance digital services for many customers all over the nation.
5. Gaz De France and Suez S.A
Gaz De France, a company which as the name implies, is a French company that primarily deals with natural gases and energy production, struck up a merger deal with fellow natural gas and electricity supplier Suez S.A. that clocked an estimated value of $139 billion when all was said and done.
At the time, the deal created the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas company recorded. Since Gaz De France was primarily owned by the French government, a merger law was introduced just to accommodate the deal with Suez S.A.
While the move had raised the eyebrows of many, the merger pushed through — creating a company known as GDF Suez which went on to be the second-largest utility in the entire world.
4. Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham
The merger deal between the two British pharmaceutical companies Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham was known as one of the biggest deals to ever occur in the entire industry globally.
At the time of the deal, Glaxo Wellcome was ranked as the fifth largest pharmaceutical company in the world while SmithKline Beecham reached the twelfth spot in the rankings. The combination of the companies was said to kickstart one of the biggest company ventures in research and development.
The merger gave birth to the new company, GlaxoSmithKline or GSK. The merger reached an estimated value of $119.6 billion.
3. JP Morgan Chase and Bank One
JP Morgan Chase, an American banking company that continues to break records globally as the fifth largest bank in terms of assets, struck up a merger deal with fellow banking chart-topper Bank One Corporation (which was also the sixth largest bank in the entire United States) that was worth $83 billion when adjusted for inflation.
Analysts have assumed that the move was a cost-cutting strategy that would enhance company performance at the same time.
2. Procter & Gamble and Gillette
Procter & Gamble, a huge consumer goods company more commonly referred to as P&G, caught the attention of many people when it moved for an acquisition agreement with the personal care company Gillette.
By acquiring several key products and services, the deal launched P&G into the top spot in the industry after talks were concluded at a price tag of $79 billion when adjusted for inflation.
1. Vodafone and Mannesmann AG
The acquisition of the German telecom company Mannesmann AG by its international competitor, the British organization Vodafone, still remains to be one of the biggest merger and acquisition deals that the world has ever seen to date.
During a time when the market for the companies was reaching its highest financial growth, Vodafone had swooped in to take an early headstart among its other rivals in the business.
When the talks between the two companies concluded, Mannesman had officially agreed to be absorbed by Vodafone for an astounding $183 billion (which is $297 billion at today’s prices). While the aspirations were high for the combination of the two telecom giants, the subsequent performance of the merger was not as successful as accepted.
What is the Biggest Company Takeover?
The biggest company takeover that has ever been recorded in financial history is the acquisition agreement between British telecom company Vodafone and the German industrial giant Mannesmann wherein the former had purchased the latter for a grand total of $297 billion (adjusted for inflation).
What is the Largest Acquisition in U.S. History?
The largest acquisition documented in United States history was the agreement between web provider American Online (AOL) and the media giant Time Warner for a whopping $286 billion (inflation-adjusted) as the price tag attached to the deal.
What was the Biggest Acquisition in Tech?
The biggest acquisition agreement in the technology industry was conducted between tech giant Dell and the enterprise storage company EMC valued at around $67 billion when an agreement was reached between the two parties.
What was the Biggest Acquisition in Gaming?
The largest gaming industry-related acquisition was conducted between the tech-leading giant Microsoft and the video game company Activision Blizzard. At the conclusion of the deal that saw Microsoft acquiring the latter company, a value of $68.7 billion was finalized.