Mergers and Acquisitions

This interdisciplinary program gives executives the analytical framework and tools necessary to successfully execute mergers, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring. 

This program will be held in a live-online format in spring 2021.  Please check back for in-person 2021 dates.

  • View the M&A live-online program schedule here. 
  • Learn more about our live-online program experience here.

The forces of globalization and technological change have created a highly competitive and dynamic business world where mergers and acquisitions are increasingly used to seek competitive advantage and maximize value for shareholders.

Engaging in M&A activity is not a low-risk endeavor, so it is imperative that executives know how to navigate this landscape. At Chicago Booth, you will learn not only from M&A successes but also from M&A failures to better evaluate risk and put frameworks and tools to practice in a risk-free environment.

During this program, you will:

  • Develop a strategic plan for M&A activity.
  • Analyze strategic alternatives to M&A.
  • Understand the M&A due diligence process and develop your due diligence skills.
  • Understand business valuation techniques.
  • Implement a strategy for integration and restructuring.
  • Structure the deal to minimize tax consequences.
  • Learn how to best protect shareholder value during M&A.
  • Understand the use of M&A by large public corporations, privately held middle-market firms, and private equity firms.
  • Learn a playbook of M&A best practices.

Location

Online

2021 in-person program (to be announced): Chicago Booth, Gleacher Center, Chicago, IL

This program is designed for senior and upper-middle level executives who are now or will be involved in M&A activity. CFOs, CEOs, and general counsel considering or currently involved in M&A activity will find this program immensely valuable.

Titles include: C-suite, general manager, vice president, director of business development, director of finance, strategic planner, business unit manager, general counsel, and analyst.

Merle Erickson

Professor of Accounting
Merle Erickson studies the effect of taxes on the pricing and structuring of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; and the use of accounting information in valuation and contracting. He also studies, among other things, various aspects of accounting fraud. He teaches “Taxes and Business Strategy” at Booth and his course has been a staple of the Booth MBA curriculum for more than two decades.

In addition to numerous articles published in a variety of top academic journals, Erickson is a coauthor of the widely used Taxes and Business Strategy textbook (currently in its 6th edition) and is the author/editor of the casebook, Cases in Tax Strategy. From 2005-2011, he served as a co-editor of the Journal of Accounting Research.

Over the course of his career, Erickson has consulted on complex GAAP and tax accounting issues (e.g., debt versus equity, FIN 48 and ASC 740 related issues, intercompany accounting and consolidation, employee stock option accounting, accounting for acquisitions and divestitures, restated financial statements, etc.) in a variety of contexts (e.g., bankruptcy, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, inversions, structured finance, investment planning, cross border and intercompany financing, partnership arrangements, tax sharing agreements, and various types of tax advantaged transactions). His clients have included, among others, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, Fortune 500 companies in various industries, international financial institutions, law firms, accounting firms, and individual taxpayers. He has also assisted corporations with SEC, IRS and whistleblower investigations. Erickson brings these real world experiences to his “Taxes Business Strategy” and executive education courses at Booth.

He has been given several awards from the American Taxation Association for his research and teaching. He has received the Outstanding Manuscript Award (twice) as well as an award for teaching innovation. In addition to teaching graduate students at Chicago Booth, Erickson has taught courses to Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, General Electric Capital Corporation, Baker McKenzie, Andersen Consulting, Accenture, CareerBuilder, and the IMCA (Investment Management Consultants Association) among others. He also has been named one of BusinessWeek's Outstanding Faculty at the University of Chicago.

Erickson earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Rockhurst College in 1987, an MBA in 1989 from Arizona State University, and a PhD in accounting from the University of Arizona in 1996. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1996.

In addition to his scholarly activities, Erickson is an avid fisherman. He received the Angler Award from the Billfish Foundation in 2003 for releasing the most striped marlin worldwide that year. His angling pursuits have taken him from the pristine lakes of northern Canada to some of the remotest stretches of the Great Barrier Reef.



Laura M. Born

Adjunct Professor of Finance
Laura M. Born held the title of Managing Director in Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan Chase until 2007. Over her 16-year tenure, she worked in the Equity Capital Markets, Leveraged Finance and Investment Banking Coverage departments. During her career, she focused on consumer clients and financial institutions. Her transaction experience includes mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, initial public offerings, secondary equity offerings, convertible bond offerings, leveraged finance bank and bond transactions, investment grade bond transactions, and interest rate swaps and derivatives. Additionally, she provided advice on company valuations, strategic direction, capital structure, shareholder payout decisions, rating agency process, equity road shows, and conducted seminars for clients.

She currently serves as the Chair of the Trustees for the Columbia Acorn Trust and the Wanger Advisors Trust (small and mid-capitalization equity mutual funds), a member of the Board of Directors of Carlson Inc. (largest business to business travel management company and private equity platform) where she is also the Chair of the Audit Committee. In addition, Born serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Directors of Driehaus Capital Management. Closer to home, Born is a long time board member of the Infant Welfare Society of Evanston since 2007. She has been involved in public education initiatives in her public school district, having served as: a Co-Chair of the 21st Century Learning Sub-Committee, a member of the Central School Improvement Plan Committee and a delegate to the New Trier High School Board of Education Caucus.

Born earned a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Duke University in 1987. She received an MBA in finance and accounting with Honors from Chicago Booth in 1991.

She enjoys Italy, traveling, art history, yoga, hiking, and downhill skiing.

Gregory D. Bunch

Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship
Greg Bunch draws on a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur, manager, consultant, alderman, and teacher. He is the founder of Masterplan International Corporation, a strategy consulting firm. He was also a partner at Brandtrust, a brand strategy consultancy. Greg co-founded a healthcare software start-up in the Bay Area. He has served on corporate boards for financial services, healthcare, retail, franchising and marketing firms.

He works with Fortune 50 companies, family businesses and start-ups in the areas of innovation and strategy. He has worked with a broad array of companies including Abbott Labs, American Express, Danaher, Dover, ETS, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Kimberly-Clark, McDonalds, PepsiCo, State Farm and Yum! Brands.

Greg was an alderman in the City of West Chicago, serving on the infrastructure, public safety and development committees.

Greg has lectured nationally and internationally on topics related to strategy, creating customers, and innovation. He earned a bachelor's degree from Wheaton College in philosophy and an MDiv from Harvard University.

Stephen Morrissette

Visiting Professor of Business Administration
Steve Morrissette's career includes large corporate experience in mergers & acquisitions, commercial banking, as well as entrepreneurial projects as an investor and founding CEO of several start-up businesses. In addition to 30 years of practitioner expertise, his academic career includes 15 years of full-time teaching and extensive scholarship on entrepreneurial finance including a comprehensive study of angel investors published in the Journal of Private Equity, many articles on the banking industry, and many presentations and journal articles.

His expertise includes: Strategic Planning, M&A, and Capital Planning. He works with publicly-held firms, privately-owned firms with a special emphasis on planning for large family-owned businesses.
Recent consulting projects include developing a strategic plan including M&A Plan ($700 mil firm in SE USA), developing ownership exit strategies/succession plans for 4 family/founder held business ranging in size from $10 to $50 million in EBITDA, strategic plan for an $75 million international internet based business, and an international strategic plan ($2 bil firm based in Saudi Arabia).

Formerly he was the founding CEO of First Community Financial Partners, a 4 bank holding company which grew to $1.2 billion in assets in 10 years which he took public and later sold. At First Community, he led 5 stock offerings raising over $100 million in equity.

He has made 11 angel investments, 4 search fund investments and has advised numerous start-up firms including mentoring Booth New Venture Challenge teams.

He serves on several corporate and non-profit boards.

His academic credentials include an MBA with honors in Finance and Strategy from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Entrepreneurial Finance from Union University. In addition to Booth, he is a Professor at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL and has guest lectured at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management. His current research includes decision models for mergers and acquisitions including "A Framework for Validating and MA Deal Thesis" published in the Journal of Accountancy and Finance. He also recently published "An Investor's Guide to Search Funds" in the Journal of Private Equity; the article was co-authored with a Booth student.


Optional Accounting / Finance Refresher Online

Prior to the program, participants gain access to a web-based, learner-driven program to help them refresh important accounting and finance concepts. Each module features self-tests, allowing participants to tailor their learning and focus their time on the concepts least familiar to them. This multi-media tool is used as a way to establish a baseline of knowledge to make the time in the classroom as productive as possible.
 

Strategy Formulation

  • Create competitive advantage through acquisition, merger, divestiture, or alliance
  • Determine attractiveness and fit of a candidate
  • Analyze the alternatives to M&A such as strategic alliances or joint ventures

Investment Decisions and Financing

  • Understand valuation methods in evaluating M&A prospects
  • Consider capital structure and financing choices and understand/compute pro forma metrics
  • Review an LBO transaction and financing structure
  • Understand market reaction to transactions

Tax Implications

  • Understand tax implications of various tax structures for both the buyer and seller
  • Structure transactions to maximize the seller's after-tax wealth and to minimize the buyer’s after-tax cost
  • Become familiar with various valuation implications of tax planning for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures

M&A Strategy and Target Identification, Deal Phase, and Due Diligence

  • Develop an end-to-end process view of corporate development and M&A
  • Obtain tools to identify and prioritize acquisition targets
  • Test and validate a potential deal thesis
  • Learn due diligence activities necessary to test an investment thesis
  • Develop synergy estimates
  • Identify key risk issues to be investigated in due diligence
  • Develop a due diligence plan

Postdeal Integration

  • Develop a strategy for successful integration
  • Manage post-merger integration with focus on shareholder value
  • Understand the decisions and processes that impact the new organization's strategy, structure, and culture

The learning and networking experienced during the M&A Program at Chicago Booth has been invaluable for my career. The Chicago Booth program provides a broad range of cases and tools that I have been using on a daily basis.

- Gabriel Gosalvez T, Senior Manager, Deloitte LLP


The tenor and pace of the class, the very relevant and up-to-date materials, and most importantly the very diverse global make-up of the participants and teachers made my entire experience at Booth an exceptional week. I have recommended multiple courses to my colleagues and associates and plan to attend more courses relevant to my job in the future. I have stayed in contact with several of my classmates and intend to continue to do so in the future.

- Tom Heiser, Vice President & General Manager, Hitachi High Technologies America, Systems Products Division & New Business Development


The Chicago Booth M&A program was excellent and provided many insights which I now apply in my day-to-day work. The faculty was highly rich in industry experience and used case studies to elaborate principles. I believe this M&A program is one of the most practical and professional available for senior leaders to improve their competencies around M&A. I do not hesitate to recommend this program to any participant who wants to improve his/her knowledge of M&A.

- Sanjeewa Samaranayake, CFO, Group Finance, Hemas Holdings Plc


The Chicago Booth M&A program is ideal for practitioners involved in any facet of a transaction. I benefited from the quantitative evaluation of a deal, its tax implications, and approaches to ensuring a successful integration.

- Girish Rishi, Executive Vice President, Tyco


 

The program invigorated me. Quality of the professors was fantastic with real world experience that I valued. I really feel the content will help me tremendously in my day-to-day.

- David Bethoney, Senior Finance Director, Experian


The class afforded me the opportunity to see how the financial team views M&A as well as get more comfortable with their terminology. I appreciate the tools I’ve received to focus and hone my financial and business teams in our M&A activities.

- Adelle Mize, VP, Associate General Counsel, Freeman


It's been my experience that most of us involved in deal making tend toward the bias that purchase price and precise valuation outweigh all other components of the deal. This class has changed my thinking to be more balanced and given me tools to prove that strategy and integration are equally or more important than valuation in creating value.

- Tyler Jones, Business Development Manager, Performance Technologies, LLC


Great use of strategy and self-reflection, which drive M&A decisions, coupled with which tools can advantage you once you have made the decision to proceed.

- Chris Chrisafides, Sr. Commercial Director, The Dow Chemical Company


I was hesitant to return to academia, even for a week, but I found the course to be interesting, relevant, and highly collaborative. I would recommend it to colleagues.

- Valerie Matena, Senior Analyst, M&A, The Babcock & Wilcox Company


Such a great program that covers the essentials of strategy, valuation, tax, and integration. An absolute must for successful M&A execution.

- Rob Vassel, Director of Business Development, The Clorox Company


The course 110% met my expectations. It was very well done with the big picture always in mind. It was well worth the financial and time investment.

- Christopher Alsip, Director of Strategic Planning, Tyson Foods, Inc.


Overall I am extremely satisfied and enthusiastic about the experience. The quality of the faculty (and overall program management) is extremely high. I hope to be back soon for other programs. This course gave me a consolidated view of the M&A process and put all the pieces of the puzzle together in a very practical and pragmatic way. This week exceeded my expectations. Thank you.

- Denis Jaquenoud, Vice President of Operations, Richemont North America



UPCOMING LIVE-ONLINE PROGRAM DATES

  • March 2021
  • July 2021
  • November 2021

The live-online M&A program is held over two weeks. Live sessions are held 8:30am to noon Central Time on Monday through Friday (with the exception of the first Thursday).

Please check back soon to register for the March, July, or November live-online cohorts.

In-person 2021 program dates to be announced.