The Key Elements Influence The Successful Completion Of Cross-border Mergers And Acquisitions Deal -----Case Study

The present study is about the critical success factors of cross border M&As. The present study is aimed at investigating the key elements behind merger and acquisition in FedEx, Vodafone and CNOOC. The study analyses both the pre and post-acquisition stages by carrying out multiple case studies and will highlight differences in performance of three M&As. This research was based on the case studies of three important cross border M&As of the history.  This research has relied on the qualitative data which is collected through secondary and primary data. Interviews with managers and strategic management professionals were conducted. This result has contributed in the literature by findings the success factors through using multi case study methods.


From last two decades, the concept of merger and acquisition (M&A) has become center of attention for academicians and practitioners. M&A is about to allocate the resources to those business activities which are intended to expand beyond the organic growth level (Vaara and Tienari, 2011; Harbison and Pekar, 1997). The first significant waive of cross border M&A was observed in 1990. One example is of the cross border acquisition activity which took place between Vodafone and Mannesmann. It occurred in 1990 and the price for this acquisition was $180 billion (Goulet and Schweiger, 2006; Uddin and Boateng, 2011). In the later half of 1990s and early 2000s, various mega deals took place among the renown multinationals. This cross border M&A deals has actually contributed in increasing the competitiveness of global business environment. The value of such M&As reached to the US$ 1.045 trillion in 2007. But, after the global crisis which started in 2008, such activities reduced substantially (Rui and Yip, 2008). The volume has increased due to the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies and it has become 36% of cross border activities during 2014 (Cooper and Finkelstein, 2014). It is expected that the cross border M&A will further increase in next few years, owing to the competition at the global level. Hence, this research aims to explore the present current issue in a more detail manner. Moreover, many researchers has recommended that success factors of mergers and acquisitions should be explored further.

As the trend of M&A has increased, this research focuses on three case studies of cross border M&A. The selected case studies are Vodafone, FedEx and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).The FedEx corporation acquired TNT with the intention to improve the competitive position in European Economic Area (EEA) delivery services. There exists lower influence of merger on consumers of Europe, hence it is easily approved by EU. The analysis showed that FedEx and TNT are not close competitors of each other and it has moderately helped FedEx to improve its competitive position (Brady, Davies and Gann, 2005). As mentioned by Ferreira et al., (2009) and Aguilera and Dencker (2004) that merger of Vodafone was one of the famous deals that occurred between two global telecommunication companies i.e. Vodafone and Mannesmann. Gassot, Pouillot and Balcon (2000) stated that Vodafone placed the hostile takeover bid to Mannesmann when it was in position to reformulate its strategy for improving the competitive position. In this deal, there were 47.2% shares of Vodafone which were offered to Mannesmann’s shareholders.  It was known as one of the highest stake gambling activities by the Vodafone.  One of the recent mergers occurred between CNOOC and Nexen. It is quite important merger as it occurred in the energy sector. CNOOC is a state owned company of China while Nexen is a Canadian company (Duncan and Mtar, 2006). Nexen Corporation was founded in 1969 and previously it was known as CanOxy. There are 80% of shares of this company which are held by an American firm. CNOOC was established in 1999 and it is one of the leading companies of oil and gas sector of China. It is the most profitable company of the sector as it earned 34% profit margin in the year of 2008 (DePamphilis, 2008). These facts about these M&As activities make these case studies more appealing and relevant to the current research. Therefore, these three case studies has been selected for accomplishing the research aim, as mentioned below. As per words of Eisenhardt (1989), case research approach is ‘a research strategy which focuses on understanding the dynamics present within single settings’ (p. 680). Therefore, by using the case study approach, this research aims to understand the dynamics which are present in settings of selected cross border M&As.

1.1.Research Aim and Objectives:

The present study is aimed at investigating the key elements behind merger and acquisition in Fedex, Vodafone and CNOOC. The study analyses both the pre and post-acquisition stages by carrying out multiple case studies and will highlight differences in performance of three M&As. The following objectives help in accomplishing the aim of this research.

  1. To analyse the factors that contribute towards success of merger and acquisition.
  2. To analyse how the merger and acquisition of FedEx, Vodafone and CNOOC has become successful.
  3. To investigate the key benefits which has been offered by merger and acquisition to FedEx, Vodafone and CNOOC in long run.

1.2.Research Questions:

The following research questions are helpful for accomplishing the research aim and objectives.

  • Which factors are contributing towards success of merger and acquisition in general?
  • How the merger and acquisition of FedEx, Vodafone and CNOOC has become successful?
  • What are the key benefits which has been offered by merger and acquisition to FedEx, Vodafone and CNOOC in long run?

1.3.Structure of dissertation

The second chapter is the literature review chapter. It reviews both theoretical and empirical studies. Rather than just restating the previous studies, this chapter attempts to critically analyse the literature in the light of research questions, aim and objectives.

The third chapter is the methodology chapter. It starts with the introduction of methods. It explains the research approach, strategy, data collection process and sample criteria. In this research, case study method is used. It is ensured that along with the explanation, appropriate justification is provided.

The forth chapter is the findings and analysis chapter. It starts with the brief introduction of selected case study organisations. Then it reviews the secondary data which is accessed from journals, online articles, blogs and reports. To complement the secondary data, it analyses the interview findings such that research aim is accomplished.

The fifth chapter is the conclusion and recommendations chapter. It summarises the whole dissertation. It gives recommendations to future researchers.



2.Literature Review:

2.1.Merger and Acquisitions

M&As are kind of brownfield investment which allows the firms to enter in the forigen market with the help of combinations of resources of two companies. The aim of such activities is to create the synergy (Schuler, Jackson and Luo, 2004). It could be defined as the balance efforts which take place between two firms for combining their operations, assets and management with the intention to gain the competitive advantage (Piekkari at al., 2005). Basically, the legal entity is strengthened with the merger. The products expansion is ensured with the merger. With this activity, many lucrative opportunities which exist in the market could be exploited. Moreover, new customer segments could be captured with the adoption of new technology resulting from merger activity. Hence, it could be said that merger helps in bringing innovation and coping up with the need of dynamic business environment.

On the other hand, the acquisition is known as the activity in which one company tries to acquire the other company with the intention to have an access to larger market, technology along with other resources of the firm. the target firm is known as the unit of acquiring firm. With both these activities i.e. merger and acquisition provide an opportunity to make alliances at the cross country levels.

Merger results in the increased of the number of companies. The qualified case of sharing is the acquisition. Acquisition refers to the taking a majority part in the company’s shares. The least possible share is 25% of the shares which must be purchased by another company, in case of acquisition. Merger is known as one of forms of the corporate concentration. In this activity, there is at least one company that is winding up and planning to join another company on the organisational level. Through incorporation, merger activity can result in A+B= A while it can result in A+B =C in case of the fusion. In former case, one company winds up while in latter case both companies agree to wind up and they establish a new legal successor company. Acquisition is to gain influence or obtain a share in the other company. Through gaining the share, as per legal rules, certain legal rights to make decisions are obtained in the case of acquisition (Cartwright and Cooper, 2014).

2.2.Benefits of cross border M&A

There are numerous advantages of cross border M&As. Researchers has identified these advantages through theoretical arguments and empirical studies. These help in bringing know-how transfer for two firms. With the cross border M&As, the technology improvement is the ultimate result (Shimizu et al., 2004). Moreover, it becomes easier to access the new market. Firms often merger with firms of other countries to operate more efficiently. Firms has showed the technology improvement with the merger and acquisition. Previously the level of technology was poor but this level improved with the cross border merger and acquisition (Lall, 2002). Moreover, one benefit is that organisations can get maximum advantage from the development of managerial skills. By learning new skills and knowledge of management of other company, both firms become able to improve their competitiveness. Moreover, cross border merger and acquisition provides support for the strategy of individual industries (Nocke and Yeaple, 2007). Bertrand and Zitouna (2006) stated that increased productivity is more likely to be ensured with the cross border merger and acquisition. Furthermore, know how transfer and improved research and development facilities are also benefits of cross border merger and acquisitions. The most important benefit of this initiative is that it helps in creating and building shareholder value. The higher profits can be ensured with this activity. This is considered as an effective tool for increasing the shareholders value. For international growth and expansion, the cross border M&A are considered important. With cross border M&A, there is huge potential for accessing the capital and funding from outside the locality. The funds which were not available previously in home country, become readily available with cross border M&A (Kang and Johansson, 2000).

Many firms combine together for the purpose of synergy. Synergy is one of the outcomes of the merger and acquisition. With this synergy, two firms become able to produce more when they are together sharing technical know how, expertise, ideas and other resources. Thus, according to synergy theory, one plus one greater than two. Therefore, it can be said that one the benefits of cross border M&As is to gain synergy in all functions of the business (Evenett, 2004). Moreover, Neary (2007) stated that when firms of larger size merge together, they also enjoy the benefit of increased control of market, reduction in prices and economies of scale. According to Bjorvatn (2004), new market accessibility is the most important advantage of cross border merger and acquisition. Similarly, Hopkins (2002) stated that purpose of many cross border M&As is to get benefit from the increased foreign market share. Moreover, it aids in market saturation into new segments and areas where there are no restrictions. Additionally,  more credit facilities are available and tax rebates could be enjoyed.

2.3.Success factors of cross border M&As

Many M&As remain unprofitable as they do not get the success. There might be several reasons that could be considered as the reason for the failures of M&As. Managers play a key role in M&A activity; they can be proved value-destroying or value-creating bodies. Many of M&As deal go wrong from the beginning due to the intentions of managers. Most commonly discussed reason of failure is the empire building intentions of managers where managers put their interest before the interest of the shareholders. When companies merge, their size increase hence there are more chances to get higher salaries and perks, therefore, managers often prefer such mergers and acquisitions. Therefore, for their own interests managers engage in M&As (Child et al., 2001). These are pre M&A factors and there are many other factors which determine the success. There are numerous strategic factors which determine the success, this research is about those factors. The below section explores the strategic success factors for cross border M&As.

For cross-border M&As, the role of culture is quite important. One of the factors that differentiate domestic and international transaction of M&A is the involvement of culture. Therefore, it is one of the important factors that need attention while analysing M&As (Stahl and Mendenhall, 2005). As defined by Hofstede (2001), national culture are mental programs influencing the actions and thinking of individuals who are part of a certain culture. Differences in the national culture has potential to raise conflicts in the human interaction. Many of the cross-border mergers remain unable to succeed due to the involvement of large differences in nature culture. The national culture influences the cross border M&As during the process of negotiation; there are many other factors that are critical for the success of post-M&As period (Child et al., 2001). The concepts and techniques of management are influenced with the national culture. There exists numerous differences in performance management, reward system and staffing policy, therefore, the success of deal is under question due to these differences in national culture. The larger the differences in the national culture, more will be problems in the management of cross border M&A (Morosini, Shane and Singh, 1998; Erel, Liao, and Weisbach, 2012).

The role of integration team is critical for the success of cross border M&As. The success of deal depends on the effectiveness of team. When there is a special team which has employees appointed for M&A activity, the commitment of employees to new structure improves. This enhances the chances of success of the deal (BenDaniel and Rosenbloom, 1998). The skills of integration team must be sufficient that they could control the process of integration in an effectiveness manner (Budden et al., 2002). With the help of integration team, the speed of this integration activity also increases. The quicker the integration, there are higher chances of success. Employees of both companies feel more secure and they consider it important as they could see the commitment of senior management. It is of utmost importance that integration decisions are made in 90-days of the merger activity (Budden et al., 2002). On the other hand, Stahl and Mendenhall (2005) stated that too much hurry can also create problems for the success of M&As.

The role of human resource is also critical for the success of cross border M&As. No merger or acquisition can be proved successful if the human resource is not working as per the organisational objectives and aim. The motivation and commitment of employees helps in accomplishing the desired objectives (Brakman et al., 2013). The role of leadership is even more important for succeeding (Child et al., 2001). For ensuring stability and calm environment, clear communication is crucial. It helps in reducing the negative feelings that employees will be laid off during or after this process. The problems that might occur must be considered and discussed openly so everyone is aware of the potential problems (Huang and Brass, 2016).  When merger and acquisition deal is announced, it increases the anxiety level of employees and they become worried about getting the situation worse. The proper communication helps in lowering the stress and anxiety of employees (Stahl & Mendenhall, 2005). Trust is very important key factor which determines the success of the merger and acquisition and this can be developed through proper communication. Therefore, two of the key factors are the communication and trust which helps in the determination of the success of cross border merger and acquisition (Rani, Yadav, and Jain, 2015).

Role of leadership capabilities is also crucial, however, it not widely discussed in academic literature. There are certain attributes of effective leadership that helps in determining the success of cross border merger and acquisition activity. This is further explored in this research that whether or not leadership capabilities prove helpful for success of cross border merger and acquisition activity (Zhang et al., 2015). As leadership is fundamental for all organisational functions because it offers control, commitment, understanding and efficiency within a company, therefore, its role for cross border merger and acquisition is much crucial (Huang and Brass, 2016). To be more specific, change management activity considers change management very crucial, therefore, the role of leadership must not be neglected during the cross border merger and acquisition. Leaders help in developing trust and they create a sense of purpose and provides vision to employees hence everyone starts working for the desired aim and objectives (Cooper and Finkelstein, 2014).

Researchers also state that previous experience in M&A activity is helpful for ensuring the success of the deal. This is due to the learning effect as experience helps the managers to deal with the problem in a better manner. On the other hand, too much experience is also considered bad. An organisation that has no or too much experience is at the same stage. There exists a U-shaped relationship among previous experience and success of cross border M&As (Hopkins, 2008). Likewise, there are few researchers that state that every situation is unique hence the previous experience does not help in any way as it is not possible to transfer the learning from one deal to another (Gunkel et al., 2015).

Many factors become the reason of success of cross border M&A. According to Lorentz, Häkkinen and Hilmola (2006) and Pekar and Allio (1994), industry consolidation and economic liberalisation also become reason of the success of M&As. As it is said by the efficieny theory of merger and acquisition, this activity paves the path for synergy. Three types of synergies could be enjoyed with M&A and which are named as financial, operational and managerial synergy (Marks and Mirvis, 2011). Chapman (2003) stated that level of government acceptance and political authorities of two countries also determines the success. Those countries which are from healthy association are likely to be supportive for cross border M&As and it also helps in succeeding in the lucrative markets where huge customer base is attracted.

Lodorfos and Boateng (2006) stated that success of cross border merger and acquisition is also dependent on the compatibility of offerings with the foreign culture. The success is based on the liability of foreign customers. Moreover, there is a need for similar knowledge sharing patterns. The support from the local people is crucial. Furthermore, information asymmetry is critical to success. Without this, the success cannot be assured. Moreover, Transaction Cost Economics (TCE) and Ownership Location Internationalisation (OLI) are important perspectives of cross border merger and acquisitions (Kummer and Steger, 2008). According to these views, cross border M&As are appropriate entry mode only if the cost of acquisition and market trends are considered. When risk and inefficiencies are reduced, this become a reason of success of such activities (Irrman, 2005). Likewise, the importance of financial and economic conditions are also important for the success of M&A ((Hitt, Harrison and Ireland, 2001; Chan-Olmsted, 1998).


Mergers and acquisition are defined in various ways by different scholars. Firms opt for cross border M&As due to the benefits associated with them. In this chapter, many benefits has been analysed. Moreover, there are certain success factors which results in the success of M&A. It has been analysed the managers play a crucial role in this activity. The role of culture is also important in determining the success of the mergers and acquisition. Both national and organisational culture are crucial for cross border M&A. There are various challenges posed by mergers and acquisitions, and integration team helps in dealing with these challenges in an effective manner. Human resource management is also critical and it can has a significant influence on M&A. Motivation and commitment of employees, communication, leadership, trust are previous experience in M&A few other factors which are worthy to explore that how these factors help in success of cross border M&A. Economic liberalisation, industry consolidation, financial, operational and managerial synergy, government and political authorities and economic and financial factors are significant determinant of success of M&A.


Literature has established these success factors but as highlighted by recent research studies of Huang and Brass ( 2016) and Zheng, Wei, Zhang and Yang (2016), there is a need to further explore the success factors using the case study approach. As per arguments of Ravenswood,  (2011), multiple level of analysis could be used and data could be obtained from more than one case for in-depth analysis. Therefore, this research uses the multiple cases for analysing the success factors of cross border M&As. As dictated by Eisenhardt (1989), there are certain advantages of using case study method, these strengths of case study methods increase the value of this research. A research based on case study method is more likely to be empirically valid as it is based on evidence hence it is very close to reality. Moreover, theories resulting from case study methods can later be tested using hypotheses. Most importantly, case study method permits to develop a novel theory related to the research issue, hence, the importance of research increases. Moreover, the selected case studies has not been previously explored by researchers. Hence, the contribution of this research is that it provides further insight related to this research issue.



3.Research Methods

In this research, research methods which are selected for this study are described. Firstly, the respective method is described using the literature. Secondly, rationale is being provided for selecting a certain research method.

3.1.Research philosophy

According to Creswell (2009), there are various options for selecting the appropriate research philosophy for a research study. The most commonly used research philosophies in social sciences are interpretivism and positivism. The present research relies on interpretivism research philosophy. The rationale for selecting this research philosophy is the intention of the research to conduct a more detailed analysis along with in-depth understanding of the research problem. In this research philosophy, it is assumed that reality is created by own intersubjective and subjective meanings which are understood by interacting with the world which is around us (Goodwin, 2002). Therefore, in this research, it is tried to understand the research phenomena by investigating the meaning which participants are assigned to it. Moreover, during this research it is assumed that knowledge of reality is a social construction by human actors and there is no existence of objective reality (Guba and Lincoln, 1994). Besides, the research issue which is under investigation is quite novel and it needs to explored in a detailed manner, therefore, this research philosophy is feasible where researcher has tried to explore this phenomenon by considering it a subjective reality.

3.2.Research type

Kumar (2005) stated that a research can either be quantitative or qualitative research type. It is of utmost importance to select the research type as per the nature of the study. That research type should be followed which could allow to accomplish the aim and objectives in an effective manner (Remenyi et al., 1998). Therefore, this research is qualitative research. The rationale for this type of the research is that it allowed to provide depth and detail to this study. It enabled the researcher to analyse the research issue with a detailed manner. The qualitative research was selected because it allowed to create openness while collecting the data (Ramamurthy, 2011). The researcher was in position to encourage interviewees to expand their responses related to unclear or ambiguous responses. Moreover, a detailed picture has been built up using this research type. The pre-judgements had little role to play in this research. The interviewees were open to provide any answer to the question of the interviewer. In short, as Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2003) suggested  this type of research is being selected to collect the rich data from the respondents of this research study.

3.3.Research strategy

The research issue which is under investigation is quite broad phenomenon, hence, the strategy of case study has helped the researcher to investigate it in a detailed manner. Currently, the contextual factors are not known, in this situation, the case study method has allowed to ensure that sensible data is collected such that the research aim and objectives are accomplished. Creswell (2012) stated that case study research strategy allows to collect the data in a limited time using the limited budget, so this was another reason to use this research strategy. Yin (2011) stated that case study research strategy helps to simply the complex research issues. Therefore, to understand the complex phenomena which is related to cross border M&A, this research strategy has been selected. Moreover, this research strategy ensures the intensive investigation of the selected units, hence, all important events related to the unit could be explored thoroughly and deeply. This has allowed to explore the selected case studies thoroughly and deeply. Likewise, using the comprehensive process of data collection, this method allows to generalise the findings in a better manner, therefore, it was decided to use this research strategy. Gillham (2000) told that theoretical assumptions could be challenged through this method. Considering these aspects related to the case study research method, this study has used the case study research strategy. Basically, aim and objectives of this research could be accomplished in a better manner through this strategy. Moreover, there are few limitations related to single case study method (Yin, 2013), therefore, multiple case study method has been selected for getting a holistic view of success factors of cross border mergers and acquisitions. The selected case studies are FedEx, Vodafone and CNOOC. This will allow the researcher to collect the rich data, as one case study often gives limited data which has lower generalizability. Hence, the validity and reliability of the research findings is also ensured using the case study research method.

This research has followed the systematic process of case study research method which is proposed by Eisenhardt (1989). First stage is ‘getting started’ where the research defined the research questions and constructs of this research. Second stage is ‘selecting cases’ where the population of the research has specified to three case studies, namely Vodafone, FedEx and CNOOC.  The theoretical sampling technique is used. The third stage is ‘crafting instruments and protocols’ where the researcher has selected multiple data collection methods. The forth stage is ‘entering the field’ where data collection was done by interviewing the professionals and managers of selected case study organisations. Fifth stage is ‘analysing data’ where cross-case pattern is searched for exploring the success factors of cross border M&As. Sixth stage is ‘shaping hypotheses’ where evidence is used to develop logics and why behind the relationships is observed. Fifth stage is ‘enfolding literature, here findings are compared with the previous similar and conflicting research studies. eight stage is ‘reaching closure’ where conclusion is provided considering the theoretical saturation.

3.4.Research Design:

The research studies could use both primary and secondary research design. The research design must be in accordance with the previously selected elements of the research methodology. this research has used both primary and secondary data sources for analysing the elements of success of cross border mergers and acquisitions. The foundation of the findings and results chapter is on the secondary sources where data is extracted from books, journals, official websites, archive files, third party reports and other online material on merger and acquisition of the selected case studies. The rationale for selecting the secondary data source is that it is authentic and reliable. Moreover, time and cost could be saved using this data source. Furthermore, a broader view is gained with the use of secondary data sources.  Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2007) mentioned that secondary data often provides the solid base to the primary research. therefore, this research has also relied on secondary data.

In a similar manner, primary data source has been used in this research. primary data is the newly collected data. The rationale for using primary data is that it allows to address the target issues in a better manner. so, as per the aim and objectives, the primary data is collected (Sekaran and Bougie, 2010). Sekaran (2003) stated that when primary data is collected, its interpretation can be done in a better manner as compared to the interpretation of secondary sources. Most importantly, it becomes easier to ensure that data is recent. The significance of research findings increases if they are drawn from the up to dated data. Therefore, this research has relied on the primary sources.  

Moreover, as this research uses the case study approach which could rely multiple data collection techniques (Eisenhardt, 1989; Ravenswood, 2011), therefore, this research uses both interview and secondary data/archival analysis while exploring the success factors of cross border M&As. Hence, considering this multiple data sources are used while exploring the case studies.

3.5.Data collection technique

The criteria for selecting the secondary sources was dependent on the relevance of the material with the research issue i.e. merger and acquisition case of Vodafone, FedEx and CNOOC. Moreover, it was also ensured that selected source has been taken from the authentic secondary source. Similarly, it is ensured that up-to-dated information is used in this research.

For collecting the primary data, the researcher has conducted the interviews. These interviews has helped to analyse the key success factors of cross border merger and acquisitions. As these merger and acquisition activities took place in a different time period, therefore, it allowed the researcher to have a look at the both short and long term success factors of the cross border merger and acquisition. The top management and advisory members of merger and acquisition has been selected for the interview purpose. The rationale for their selection is that they possess sufficient knowledge of the key success factors of merger and acquisition which has taken place in their organisation. the sample of the interview is 10 experts from these case study organisations. this research has used semi-structured interviews. There were few pre-decided questions to ensure standardisation in the interviews which are conducted across case study organisations. However, the customised questions has been asked from the interviewees as per their responses. Though, it was a semi-structured interview, as Tharenou, Donohueis and Cooper (2007) recommended, it was ensured that main theme of the questions remain same so that there is no bias in the process of data collection. It was also ensured that interview questions are understandable to the interviewee. For minimising ambiguities, the questions were asked in an easy language. It was ensured that no jargons or technical language is used during the interviews (Silverman, 2011). These interviews were tape-recorded and these were conducted in English language. The time for each interview was 45 minutes to 1 hour.

3.6.Access to Respondents:

This research is about the cross border merger and acquisition, therefore, one limitation of this study was related to accessing the top management team of FedEx, CNOOC, and Vodafone. However, using the social capital of the researcher, it became possible to contact the members from their top management. Though, sample size of this research is 10 interviewees and it was never possible contact 10 people from these organisations. therefore, the researcher has taken interviews from 3 managers of the underlying companies.  Moreover, seven professional from international strategic management has been selected. The criteria for selecting these professional is that they possess sufficient knowledge related to the merger and acquisition of case study organisations. These interviews with the top management has been conducted via telephone. However, the interviews with the international strategic management professionals were conducted by personally visiting them. Hence, the limitation of accessing the respondents has been effectively managed.

3.7.Ethical Issues:

Blaxter, Hughes and Tight (2010) highlighted that it is important to ensure that research is completed in an ethical manner. Therefore, ethical issues are duly considered while completing this research. It is ensured that neither the research process nor the research findings are harmful for anyone. This is ensured that confidentiality and privacy of interviewees is not harmed in any way. Therefore, their personal information will never be revealed anywhere. Likewise, it has been ensured that goodwill of the selected case study organisations i.e. Vodafone, FedEx and CNOOC is not influenced in any way. The researcher invited the participants for this research, but as per suggestion of Collins (2010), none of them was influenced or forced to take part in this study. Their participation was completely at their will. They were being provided the right to withdraw from research anytime. Likewise, all relevant information was being provided to them so they do not have any confusion regarding this research project. Before starting this interview, their consent was being taken. For secondary data, there were only few concerns related to ethics. The researcher ensured that those issues are also handled in an appropriate manner. Most importantly, it is ensured to avoid the fabrication of the data. In addition to this, it is ensured that appropriate acknowledgement is being given to the author of the secondary source (Cooper and Schindler, 2007). In short, the research is completed in an ethical manner.


There were certain limitations related to this research. Firstly, qualitative research involves the issue of limited generalizability. Though, Bryman and Bell (2007) told that the qualitative research does not take the stance to ensure generalizability, it focuses on transferability of the research finding. Still, it is important to have some generalizability of findings. Hence, there are chances that the results are not generalizable to all cross border merger and acquisition activities. Moreover, semi-structured interviews involve the issue of impact of social desirability bias. Though, the researcher tried to minimise this bias but there is probability that the responses has been influenced with this bias (Angen, 2000). Further to this, the research issue is about cross border merger and acquisition, hence, the researcher could not access a large number of managers from the selected case study organisations. Though, they could provide better answers but the researcher has effectively dealt with this issue by using the professionals from international strategic management and secondary sources for data collection.

3.9.Proposed Data Handling and Analysis:

In this research, thematic analysis is conducted. From both primary and secondary sources, themes related to cross border merger and acquisition has been analysed. using the open, axial and selective coding method, the data analysis process is completed (Silverman, 2011)



4.Chapter four

In this chapter, findings and analysis are presented related to the case study organisations. this research aims to analyse the benefits of cross border M&As and it also aims to analyse the success factors of cross border M&As. This research is based on three case studies. The brief introduction is provided for all three case study organisations. After introduction, benefits and success factors for each case study are discussed separately. This chapter has used both primary and secondary data sources. Moreover, the findings are also compared with the literature review.

4.1.Vodafone and Mannesmann


After doing struggle of being part of battle which lasted for three months, Germany’s Mannesmann was being acquired by the Britain’s Vodafone AirTouch PLC. This was a friendly merger which had the value of $180.95 billion. This is known as the one of the biggest deal ever which occurred in the landscape of global telecommunications (Naik, 2000). These two firms namely Vodafone and Mannesmann which have merged now are players of telecommunication sector of Germany. They both joined their hands to increase the provision of value for their customers. the became able to receive the positive response from the market of German, hence, they operated with efficiency (Chatterjee, 2009). A short comparison of both firms has been provided in below table.

Table 1: A Comparison of Mannesmann and Vodafone

Source: Höpner and Jackson (2006)

4.1.2.Benefits of cross border M&As

This was a horizontal merger where both companies were form the telecommunication industry. with this merger, the number of competing firms reduced. This provided the benefit of industrial concentration to both firms. Moreover, cross border M&A between these Vodafone and Mannesmann has led to the cost reduction (Black, 2000). One of the interviewees stated that:

“One of the important benefits for these two companies was that this merger resulted in reduced cost. They both become efficient. They were in position to avoid the duplication of fixed costs. Now, management consolidated so there was no chances that two people are performing the identical task. This resulted in decreased labor cost for Vodafone. Now, it only required to pay fixed cost, once which resulted in increased profits. Likewise, firms were in position to increase the process.”

With the lower cost, Vodafone became able to share the low prices with its customers. This ultimately improved the customer base for Vodafone (Ibbott and O'Keefe, 2004). Another interviewee highlighted that:

“Vodafone and Mannesmann shared their resources. With combined resources, both firms knew what each firm is capable of doing, effectively. These both firms enjoyed synergy. Through synergy, Vodafone achieved improved competitive advantage in the telecommunication industry.”

4.1.3.Success factors of cross border M&As

The analysis of this case study showed that one of the crucial factors for the success is the support from local customers (Pryor, 2001). Though, there were few differences in the culture of both company’s home countries, but when they started to work together, these cultural differences were managed effectively (Höpner and Jackson, 2006). The leaders play a critical role in managing these cultural differences. One of the interviewees highlighted that:

“One was a German company while other was a British company. There exists huge differences in culture of both companies. These were supposed to be managed in an effective manner. What we have observed is that leaders played their role in effective manner. The effective leadership became one of the factors which has influenced the success of this cross border M&A activity. The commitment of top management team of both companies was high and this ultimately proved beneficial for this cross M&A deal.”

One of the significant success factors identified by the literature is the synergy which can be gained when two organisations merge with each other. The success of mergers and acquisitions depends on the managerial, operational and financial synergy (Marks and Mirvis, 2011). As the analysis of Garrett (2001) has highlighted, the merger activity of Vodafone became successful as it resulted in synergy which it gained through its operations. This synergy contributed in the revenue of the firms of this industry from telecom industry. Though, competitive position remained moderate, but still it helped in increasing the synergy. It was also highlighted by one of the interviewees in the following words.

“The main motive of many M&A activities is to gain the synergy. Same has happened for the merger and acquisition event of Vodafone and Mannesmann. One of the main success factors is gaining synergy. From the operations of the Vodafone, it is found that this cross border M&A has proved quite effective for the firm as it has gained the synergy”

Hence, it can be analysed that merger activities are aligned with the efficiency theory of merger and acquisition (Marks and Mirvis, 2011). Likewise, it was being observed that the success of merger activity between Vodafone and Mannesmann was only due to the favourable response which was gained from the regulatory authorities. Hence, it can be said that the success of cross border merger and acquisition deals depend on the favourable and positive involvement of government and regulatory authorities (Jackson and Hoepner, 2001). This was also also highlighted by one of the interviewees. The interviewee responded that:

“The concerned regulatory authority helped Vodafone to acquire Mannesmann in an effective manner. many of the concerns were resolved with the favourable response of the regulatory authorities. this positive response of the government and regulatory authorities also helped the company to become a successful market player. Therefore, it is not wrong to state that one of the success factors is the positive role played by government and regulatory bodies.”

The importance of support from government was also highlighted by Chapman (2003). Hence, it could be said that this result is consistent with the literature findings.  As the importance of financial conditions and economic factors is critical, it is found that the success of merger of Vodafone is due to the financial performance of both companies i.e. Vodafone and Mannesmann (Cartwright and Cooper, 2012). Vodafone was having high level of sales while Mannesmann was having high growth in terms of high return on mobile phone segment. As depicted by the efficiency theory, both firms swapped their shares which resulted in increasing their efficiency. The stock market valuation of Vodafone was quite considerable, hence by sharing the stocks both firms became efficient. One of the interviewees stated that:

“The mergers and acquisition deals are not the solution for bad financial position of one company. it is important to have the good financial position of both companies. Unless the sound financial performance does not exist, the cross border M&A success is not assured. Same has been observed in the case of Vodafone and Mannesmann. Both firms were having sound financial performance, hence, when they merged, the result was a success.”

The literature has already told that the previous experience matters a lot in the success of the merger and acquisition activity. The secondary sources analysis has revealed that Vodafone has participated in many such activities. In 1991, it demerged from Racal Electronics to Vodafone Group. In 1996, two third of Talkland was acquired by Vodafone giving £30.6 million. In 1996,  People Phone was purchased by Vodafone for £77 million (Lipton, 2006). In a similar manner, it acquired eight percent of Astec Communications. In June, 1999, Vodafone merged with AirTouch Communication Inc. Then finally it acquired Mannesmann which is the largest German mobile network. From this secondary source, it becomes obvious that Vodafone had sufficient experience in M&A deals (Nalwaya and Vyas, 2014). As one of the interviewees stated that:

 “The experience of Vodafone has helped it a lot in the success of its deal. Its management possess the required skills and competencies which are needed to manage the problems associated with the merger and acquisition dilemma. They have enough experience in change management. They know best that how to manage the communication issues. They know how to get rid of the anxiety of their employees in such situation. That is the reason that Vodafone successfully managed such deals.”



TNT which is a Netherlands based company has been acquired by FedEx which is a provider of mail and other courier services. It is known as the fourth largest global parcel operator. In this transaction, 88.4% shares of TNT were purchased by FedEx (Berman, 2016; Bearth, 2015). Now, FedEx offers a wide range of portfolio which include e-commerce, transportation and many other business services. It has annual revenue of $49 billion (Exclusive of TNT) and it is offering integrated business applications under the brand name of FedEx. It is known as one of the best trusted and admired employers of the world (FedEx, 2016).

4.2.2.Benefits of cross border M&A

There are many advantages of this deal which occurred between FedEx and TNT. It brought a significant value addition for the company. Regulatory firms were afraid of that such M&A will be harmful for the industry as it can alter the market dynamics by being a logistics giant. The fear of regulatory firms proved wrong and it did not misused the power to alter the market dynamics. Compared to other available deals, this was the cheapest deal hence it was beneficial for FedEx (Watson, 2015). As highlighted by one interviewee:

“The M&A between FedEx and TNT was quite beneficial because it massively increased the market share of FedEx in Europe.”

Before this deal of cross border M&A, market share of FedEx was 5% while there were other players having greater market share in Europe. TNT was having 12% market share of Europe. With the M&A deal among TNT, FedEx became second largest logistics player in Europe. This was the biggest benefit for FedEx as it was trying to increase its market presence in Europe from many years. With this deal, the cost also reduced and profits improved (Watson, 2016). Another interviewee stated that:

With this acquisition, the strengths of the both companies have combined. Two companies has joined where former is the world’s largest air express network while former is the an unparalleled European road network. This acquisition has expanded the existing portfolio of FedEx. In short, the whole global transportation and logistics industry was reshaped with this acquisition.”

4.2.3.Success factors for Cross Border M&A

There are many other success factors for cross border merger and acquisition. With this acquisition, the value for customers, people and shareowners increased (Judd, 2016). One of the interviewee has responded as below:

“The experience of TNT team members was being combined with team members of FedEx. This integration of experience of both companies helped in the success of this cross border M&A activity.”

Another interviewee stated that:

“The combination of resources of both companies was something which helped this deal to become a success. When human, financial and technical resources were being combined, they complemented each other. Hence, this deal became a successful deal in the industry.”

It has been observed that for the case study of FedEx and TNT that there existed same cultural and social values of countries of both companies (Chapman, 2003). The role of cultural and social values is critical. One of the interviewees stated that:

“Many of the cross border activities do not become successful due to the large differences in cultural and social values of the companies. These cultural differences hinder the success of M&As which occur over borders. I believe that there were not large differences in social values and culture of TNT and FedEx. This has proved helpful for the organisation. FedEx did not have to undertake extra efforts for dealing with the cultural differences.”

The importance for government engagement in cross border merger and acquisition is also highlighted by the case of FedEx (Kummer and Steger, 2008).  Before accepting the bid of FedEx for the acquisition of TNT, European government analysed this offer in a critical manner. This offer of acquisition was being accepted only be ensuring that the values of customers in delivery service  will not be harmed in any way with this activity (Garrett, 2001). One of the interviewees has mentioned this while answering the interview questions.

“The favorable role of government is critical for all cross border Mergers and Acquisitions. Whenever, government and regulatory authorities has opposed any deal, it was not possible to see the success of that deal. Specifically, for cross border M&A which occurred between FedEx and TNT, government had a critical role. The offer of FedEx was critically examined by the government bodies. The deal was accepted by TNT only once it was being approved by the European government. Therefore, it is not wrong to conclude that role of government is always critical in cross border M&As. Therefore, it should never be neglected.”

Timing is an important contextual factor and it is considered as one of the critical success factors for cross border merger and acquisitions. One important aspect related to this acquisition was the timing of this M&A activity. This was the time era when e-commerce was increasing at double-digit rate (Kulisch, 2015). One interviewee stated that:

“Though, there are numerous examples of cross border M&A. But this cross boarder M&A activity is one of the renown examples because of its timing. Both companies combined with each other when it was most beneficial for them. That was the time when the growth of internet technologies was on peak. Both companies utilised their combined resources to create value for their customers. This ultimately proved helpful for the success of this deal”

Through capabilities of TNT, the existing portfolio of FedEx improved. Moreover, the ability of FedEx expanded with this deal has improved (Watson, 2015b). One of the interviewees stated that:

“The combined technology, infrastructure and facilities along with the operational capabilities has resulted in the improved synergy for FedEx, and this is considered as one of the important success factors.”

Cross border M&A are considered as one of the best entry mode for organisations who want to internationalise (Irrman, 2005). Aligned with this perspective, one of the interviewees stated that:

“Though, there were many other options for FedEx to enter in this market. However, it is always known to management that there are numerous risk who has high intensity and severity. For example, FedEx could have adopted the strategy of greenfield venture for entering into. Netherlands market, but that involves high risks. The macro-environmental risks are huge for other strategies. Therefore, management decided to go for this option. This option has proved successful for many organisations. It has reduced risks for Vodafone as well. therefore, it can be said that one of the success factors is that cross border M&A must result in risk reduction, in one way or the other.”

This view of the interviewee is much aligned with the literature. The research studies of Morosini, Shane and Singh, (1998) and Erel, Liao, and Weisbach (2012) has also highlighted the importance of national and organisational culture. From this research, it has proved that culture is a critical success factor for M&A.  Important to mention is that, we could not find any factors related to economic factors influencing the M&A of FedEx and Mannesmann. Therefore, the firm also had the lower level of efficiency.

4.3.CNOOC  and Nexen


CNOOC acquired the Nexen Inc., for $15.1 billion. This is known as one of the biggest cross border merger and acquisition that took place between a Chinese and Canadian company. For each common share, the largest offshore oil and natural gas explorer of China paid $27.50 which involve the 61% premium for Calgary-based Nexen’s price (Guo and Loon, 2012).

4.3.2.Benefits of cross border CNOOC and Nexen

There were many benefits of this cross border merger and acquisition. However, most dominantly, this deal became for its political benefits. Though, it had numerous economic benefits but political benefits were greater, as compared to the economic benefits. Due to this transaction, relationship between Canada-China dramatically improved. This deal resulted in greater economic trade between China and Canada. Definitely, there were also financial benefits where the revenue of the firm increased with this deal (Wan and Wong, 2009). One of the interviewees stated that:

“With this cross border M&A among CNOOC and Nexen, we became able to enjoy greater profits and revenues.”

4.3.3.Success factors for cross border M&A

The $15.1 billion taken over of Nexen Inc. by CNOOC became successful without having any major hiccups because the provincial leaders helped in reaffirming the values of China. This deal specifically focused on dealing with the Canadian regulations. It was ensured that this deal will be beneficial for the country (Hale, 2014). Before the approval of deal, Canadian federal government reviewed the deal and it was analysed that how this deal has net benefit for the Canadian economy. Canadian foreign investment laws also state so therefore this analysis of the deal when ensured that this deal has net benefit for the economy, there were higher chances of its success (Chen, 2013). Due to its net benefit for the economy, it became able to become of the successful mergers. As Canadian investors became able to get access to Chinese assets, hence, the market reciprocity also played a key role in its success. If Canada has not allowed this deal, it could have given a negative reputation of China and it could had never become able to maintain its image of a friendly justification for foreign investment. Therefore, for reputation of the country, this deal was accepted by the regulatory authorities. Therefore, they also provided required support to the company, resulting in the success of the deal (Rocha, 2013).

The success of CNOOC and Nexen is also dependent on the relationship which is improved through this merger activity. The relationship of China and Canada improved with this merger of Chinese and Canadian organisations, hence this merger got the significant prominence (Burton, 2015). This is aligned with the view of Chapman (2003) who stated that cross border mergers become successful when they are accepted by the political authorities and government of two countries. When two countries have the healthy relationship with each other, the cross border mergers and acquisition activities of firms of these countries result in the success. This was being observed in the case of success of merger between CNOOC and Nexen (Roy, 2013). The healthy relationship between Canada and China attracted the larger customer base hence the business deals became successful. The analysis of this merger activity has portrayed that CNOOC put its best efforts to satisfy the requirements of Canada’s Foreign Investment Review Act. This activity presented that this Chinese company will bring the benefits for the Canadian economy. As CNOOC is a stated owned company, the similar status was being given to Nexen (Chen, 2013). The culture of Canada has remained quite supportive for fostering the diversity and international values. Due to this, CNOOC became able to successful function in Canada after the acquisition of Nexen.

As it has been previously mentioned, one of the important success factors of mergers activity is the synergy which is gained through this initiative. CNOOC gained synergy and its international operations improved in the international market. This resulted in improved competitive position of the firm in oil and gas industry (Chen, 2013; Garrett, 2001). Hence, it can be analysed that merger activities are aligned with the efficiency theory of merger and acquisition (Marks and Mirvis, 2011).

With the acquisition of Nexen, CNOOC became able to have the improved public image which ultimately contributed in enhancing the customer based on CNOOC. CNOOC did not ignore the corporate social responsibility policy of Canada. This also helped in contributing in the success of this merger and acquisition activity (Jing, 2014). As it was highlighted by one interviewee:

“There is higher emphasis on corporate social responsibility in Canada while China does not have such higher focus. Therefore, when CNOOC adopted the policy which was famous in Canada, this helped the company to become successful.”

The importance of financial condition has been proved through the case of CNOOC, as well. The firm named CNOOC was having huge capital. The strong financial position of CNOOC became one of the reasons of the success of this merger activity (Feldman, 2015). Roy (2013) stated that changes which occurred in the Chinese currency also proved helpful for the merger and acquisition of Nexen and CNOOC.

The role of management is critical in the success of the merger and acquisition deal. For M&A occurring between CNOOC and Nexen, it became observable that Nexen’s managers played a key role. Uusally after such M&A, management and human resource of one organisation is overlooked. But CNOOC CEO did not do so. The top management along with CEO highlighted the importance of management and human resource of Nexen. Hence, the company took the decision to not to ignore talented people and experienced management team. CNOOC got the best possible benefit from the human resources, hence, this cross border M&A became successful (McCarthy and Tait, 2013).

Other than these factors, the role of culture has also been analysed in the M&A of CNOOC. One of the interviewees responded as below.

“There were numerous differences in the culture of both companies. Other than the national culture, the organisational culture of both firms was different. This is the point where the integration teams has played their role. There was a team of experts which aimed to integrate the culture of these two companies. The competency and capability of this team has played a critical role in the success of this merger activity. I believe the culture is a critical success factor and it should not be ignored”.


In this chapter, it has been found that there were many benefits of cross border merger and acquisitions. All three cases had their own specific objectives, hence their benefits were also different. Moreover, the success factors are mainly analysed in this chapter. All three firms had variant success factors, though few common success factors are also observed while analysing the case study.




5.1.Summary of Findings

The present study is about the critical success factors of cross border M&As. The present study is aimed at investigating the key elements behind merger and acquisition in Fedex, Vodafone and CNOOC. The study analyses both the pre and post-acquisition stages by carrying out multiple case studies and will highlight differences in performance of three M&As. This research was based on the case studies of three important cross border M&As of the history.  This research has relied on the qualitative data which is collected through secondary and primary data. The findings of this research has concluded that cross border merged firms has enjoyed various benefits. The cross border M&A which occurred between Vodafone and Mannesmann has resulted in benefits of cost reduction, increased efficiency, low prices for customers and synergy. The success factors for M&A of Vodafone and Mannesmann were support from local customers, management of cultural differences, leadership, commitment of top management, managerial, operational and financial synergy, favorable role of government and regulatory authorities, good financial performance of both companies, previous experience and skills and competencies. These factors has contributed to success of M&A between Vodafone and Mannesmann. Likewise, the benefits of FedEx and TNT M&A includes value addition, increased market share of FedEx and combined portfolio. The success factors of this cross border M&A were increased value for customers, people and shareowners, complementary influence of human, financial and technical resources,  no large social values and culture differences, favorable role of government, timing, improved synergy, culture and reduced macroeconomic risk factors. It is concluded that there were numerous political and economic cross border M&A of CNOOC and Nexen. The political benefits were greater than the economic benefits. Moreover, it is concluded that the success of this cross border M&A were dependent on its successful role for the Canadian government, benefits for Canadian economy and improved relationship between China and Canada and changes in currency of China. Other success factors were synergy, improved competitive position, improved public image, strong financial position of CNOOC and effective role of management.

5.2.Fulfillment of Research Aim and Objectives

The present study is aimed at investigating the key elements behind merger and acquisition in Fedex, Vodafone and CNOOC. This aim has relied on two objectives. This research has successfully accomplished all the objectives. The first objective was to analyse the factors that contribute towards success of merger and acquisition. This objective is accomplished in the second chapter of this dissertation. The second chapter reviews previous studies for investigating the success factors of merger and acquisition. The second objective is to analyse how the merger and acquisition of FedEx, Vodafone and CNOOC has become successful. For this, the success factors are analyzed with the help of the primary and secondary research which are reported in the forth chapter. The third objective was to investigate the key benefits which has been offered by merger and acquisition to FedEx, Vodafone and CNOOC in long run. This objective is also accomplished through primary and secondary research which is analysed in the chapter four. Therefore, it could be concluded that this research has accomplished the aim and objectives.

5.3.Limitations and Future Research Directions

This research has faced certain limitations. Firstly, this research relies on the qualitative data. Though, the researcher has minimised the subjectivity and bias of this method, it is not possible to say that the bias was completely vanished. Therefore, to some extend, the findings are subject to the bias of the researcher. Therefore, it is recommended to future researchers that they must combine the qualitative methods with the quantitative methods. Through triangulation of methods,  the findings could be made more generalizable. Moreover, as this is about three case studies and professionals from these three case studies were not accessible, only few managers could be accessed. For better results, it is recommended to access more interviewees from the merged or acquired companies. This will provide better insights into the research issue.





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