The planning and management of Australian acquisitions.

2017-03-22T01:25:30Z (GMT) by Eckert, Christopher Michael
This thesis explores the processes used by managers to plan and manage acquisitions undertaken by Australian firms. Haspeslagh and Jemison's (Haspeslagh & Jemison, 1991a) process perspective was used to frame the study. The research problem addressed by this thesis is stated as: Is Haspeslagh and Jemison's process framework applicable to the planning and management of acquisitions undertaken by managers of Australian acquiring firms? Research into the management of acquisition integration is an important topic for academic study for several reasons. First, prior acquisition research has been fragmented, and provides insufficient explanation of acquisition performance. Second, the present study examines Haspeslagh and Jemison's (1991a) process framework, which has influenced a key stream of acquisition research yet has not received empirical testing. Third, the focus of this research on the planning and management of acquisitions in practice responds to King, Dalton, Daily, and Covin's (2004) calls for investigation of the antecedents of post acquisition performance. Finally, this research is important because it has the potential to substantially improve the success of acquisitions, thus improving the financial performance of those firms, and reducing the negative impact upon a firm's clients and employees. A qualitative research design was selected for the research, using two organisations, a professional services firm (ProfServCo), and an insurance company (InsureCo). Data collection comprised document analysis and semi-structured interviews of approximately two hours' duration with 11 managers from ProfServCo, and 12 managers from InsureCo. Within-case and between-case analysis was conducted. The thesis makes 30 research findings in relation to the management of acquisitions. The findings provide limited support for Haspeslagh and Jemison's (1991 a) framework overall, with evidence of the stages of idea, justification, integration, and results. However, not all of the specific components and activities within the stages were found in the cases. The findings have direct implications for the resource-based view of the firm, and support prior research with regard to the strategic reasons for acquisitions. Further, this research highlighted the importance of evaluating acquisitions across multiple levels, and the need to develop evaluation tools that link the firm's acquisition strategy and assessment of acquisition performance. The thesis makes 11 findings related to how managers plan acquisitions. It was found that developing a detailed understanding of the resources, knowledge, and dynamic capabilities being acquired is important. The research extends prior research, finding that planning integration across management, relationship, and resource processes, considering the differences between offices and business units, the use of an iterative planning style, and codification of the acquirer's approach are necessary. The findings highlight that acquirers underestimate the complexity, cost, and timeframe of acquisition integration. Further, the research found that definition of the integration Managers role, identification of the resources, knowledge, and dynamic capabilities required to support acquisition integration, and access to firm ¬wide relationship networks are important factors in acquisition success. The thesis concludes by developing a revised acquisition framework emphasising a multi- dimensional approach to strategy development and integration. The research has a broad range of implications for theory, research, and management practices related to planning and managing successful acquisitions.