An Overview of Three Decades of Mergers and Acquisitions Research

Nuno Rosa Reis, Fernando Carvalho, José Vasconcelos Ferreira


Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have long attracted managers’ attention and have been researched in different perspectives and using different theories. In this study we grasp the wealth of extant research in the field of M&As. We conducted a bibliometric study of 635 articles on strategic management and international business research published in 34 highly ranked management journals between 1983 and 2012. We performed citation, co-citation and factor analyses to uncover the issues examined by scholars, the main theoretical approaches and themes researched. The results show a relative shift from economic and financial approaches to knowledge-based and organizational learning perspectives in recent years. There was also an evolution from assessing the performance of firms after an M&A to seeking an understanding of what may drive synergy creation after the integration process. Furthermore we observed an increasing interest in cross-border M&As. We discuss our findings, identifying gaps and suggesting paths for future research.


mergers and acquisitions; corporate takeovers; bibliometric study; literature review


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