• Terminology

Acquisition refers to the process in which a company or individual gains control or ownership of a target company by purchasing its equity or assets.

What is an Acquisition?

An acquisition refers to the process by which a company or an individual gains control or ownership of another company through the purchase of its equity or assets. In an acquisition, the buyer is known as the "acquirer" or "buyer", while the company being acquired is referred to as the "target" or "seller".

An acquisition can be comprehensive, meaning the buyer acquires all of the equity or assets of the target company, or partial, meaning the buyer acquires a portion of the equity or specific assets of the target company. The method of acquisition can be through cash transactions, stock exchanges, or other forms of transaction.

The motivations behind acquisitions can vary widely, including but not limited to expanding market share, increasing product lines, entering new markets, achieving economies of scale, fulfilling strategic objectives, acquiring technology or intellectual property, etc. Acquisitions can be a common strategy in the market, aiding in the growth and development of companies.

When making an acquisition, the buyer usually conducts due diligence to assess the target company's financial situation, business prospects, risk factors, and other important information. Additionally, acquisitions may require approval from regulatory authorities and adherence to relevant laws and regulations.

Acquisitions are complex processes that require thorough planning, analysis, and coordination. When implementing an acquisition strategy, companies often seek professional legal, financial, and strategic consulting to ensure the transaction goes smoothly and achieves its intended goals.

Purposes of Acquisitions

The purposes of acquisitions can vary based on the strategies and objectives of the companies involved. Here are some common purposes of acquisitions.

  1. Expanding Market Share: By acquiring competitors or companies within the same industry, the buyer can gain a larger market share, enhancing its competitiveness.
  2. Increasing Product Lines or Services: Acquisitions can help the buyer quickly gain new products or services, filling gaps in its current product range and offering more comprehensive solutions.
  3. Entering New Markets: Through acquisitions, buyers can quickly enter new geographical areas or industry sectors, expanding their scope of business.
  4. Achieving Economies of Scale: Acquisitions can enable companies to achieve scale efficiencies, including lowering costs, improving production efficiency, and increasing bargaining power, thereby enhancing profitability.
  5. Acquiring Technology or Intellectual Property: Some acquisitions aim to gain patents, technology, or other intellectual property owned by the target company, strengthening the buyer's innovation capabilities and competitiveness.
  6. Fulfilling Strategic Objectives: Acquisitions can help companies achieve their long-term strategic goals, such as further integrating the supply chain, vertical integration, diversification, etc.
  7. Continuous Growth and Profit: Through acquisitions that increase market share, expand business scope, or improve efficiency, companies can achieve continuous growth and increased profitability.

It's important to note that acquisition decisions should be based on thorough due diligence and strategic analysis, taking into account risks, financial feasibility, and compliance. Acquisitions may face many challenges and risks, including integration difficulties, cultural conflicts, legal and regulatory issues, etc., requiring careful evaluation and planning.

Types of Acquisitions

Different types of acquisitions may vary in purpose, method, and impact. They can be classified into several categories based on factors such as purpose, direction, and impact.

  1. Controlling Acquisition: In a controlling acquisition, the acquirer purchases equity of the target company to gain control over it. This usually involves the buyer acquiring more than 50% of the target's equity, thereby having a significant influence over its operations and decisions.
  2. Complete Acquisition: A complete acquisition involves the acquirer purchasing all of the equity or assets of the target company, making it a subsidiary or division of the acquirer. This type entails the buyer obtaining full ownership and control.
  3. Partial Acquisition: In a partial acquisition, the acquirer purchases part of the equity or specific assets of the target company, rather than all of its equity or assets. Partial acquisitions may involve cooperative or joint venture arrangements between the buyer and the target.
  4. Horizontal Acquisition: A horizontal acquisition occurs between companies within the same industry, where the buyer and target have overlapping or similar products, markets, and customers. The aim is to expand market share, integrate supply chains, or enhance competitiveness.
  5. Vertical Acquisition: A vertical acquisition occurs between companies at different stages of the same supply chain, where the buyer and target are linked in the supply or value chain. Vertical acquisitions can help companies achieve better supply chain management, cost control, and market dominance.
  6. Cross-border Acquisition: A cross-border acquisition involves acquiring companies from different industries or sectors. These acquisitions are usually aimed at entering new markets, acquiring new technology or intellectual property, or achieving a diversified business strategy.
  7. Hostile Acquisition: A hostile acquisition occurs when the acquirer proceeds with the acquisition against the will of the target company's management and board. Hostile acquisitions are often executed through public tender offers or shareholder votes, with the acquirer potentially bypassing the target's management to directly approach its shareholders.

Difference Between Acquisition and Merger

Acquisition and merger are two common methods of undertaking transactions between companies, with some differences in transaction structure and intent.


  1. An acquisition involves a company obtaining control or ownership of another company by purchasing its equity or assets.
  2. In an acquisition, the buyer dominates, usually aiming to gain control of the target company, making it a subsidiary or affiliate.
  3. Acquisitions are a common method of transaction, which can be complete, involving the purchase of all equity or assets, or partial, involving the purchase of part of the equity or specific assets.


  1. A merger refers to the process where two or more companies combine into a new entity or integrate into a larger company.
  2. In a merger, the companies involved generally have a more equal status, merging their assets, businesses, and equity to form a new entity or operate jointly.
  3. The purpose of a merger is often to achieve business integration, synergies, scale advantages, or complementary strategic targets.

In summary, an acquisition emphasizes one company's dominant purchase of another to gain control or ownership, with the goal of making the acquired company a part of the acquirer. A merger, on the other hand, emphasizes the mutual combination of two or more companies, forming a new entity or a larger business, aiming to achieve synergies and scale advantages.

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