Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module LAW40915: Mergers and Acquisitions

Department: Law

LAW40915: Mergers and Acquisitions

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to M1K616
Tied to M1K316
Tied to M1K116


  • None


  • Company Law

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The course aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to mergers and acquisitions in the United Kingdom, including the economics of mergers, corporate strategy, the forms of mergers, and regulatory issues


  • Economics – horizontal/vertical integration, diversification of income, avoidance of tariffs, closeness to market, tax, etc
  • Corporate strategy – economic, political and legal risks of M&A activity, and recent merger examples
  • Forms of mergers – true mergers, hostile takeovers, schemes of arrangement, joint ventures, etc
  • Proceeding with the merger – finance, professional advice, the board of directors, bidding, defensive action, etc
  • Regulatory issues – Takeovers Directive, Takeover Code General Principles and Rules, FiSMA market abuse provisions, potential competition law issues
  • M&A aftermath – theory and evidence

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of the module, students will have an in-depth knowledge of the reasons for which merger activity is undertaken, the risks, the structuring of transactions and the regulation thereof. Recent significant mergers will be used as case studies to illustrate relevant principles.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to:
  • Appreciate the complex economic and other forces which create the conditions for merger activity
  • Recognise the important risks of merger activity from political and corporate perspectives
  • Advise on the appropriate ways of structuring a merger
  • Advise on the legal regulatory framework applicable to the merger form employed
  • Critically analyse corporate merger strategy and the role of professional advisors and regulatory agencies
Key Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to:
  • Understand the needs of business for competent legal advice in undertaking transactions
  • Communicate key legal concepts to professional and business audiences
  • Research and synthesize legal requirements applicable in the business sphere

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The teaching will be by way of seminars supported by substantial but targeted reading assignments before each session. The readings are selected from both established doctrinal sources as well as cutting-edge scholarship in the area. The seminars will work from a basic level of doctrinal knowledge and build on that foundation into discussions of more difficult and controversial issues. This will encourage students to learn the material and develop the ability to discuss it and understand where each aspect of the reading fits in with the relevant debates.
  • The elements of assessment support the aims of the teaching methods. The essay will assess the extent to which students have developed an overall grasp of the subject matter and issues, and can discuss challenging problems emerging in the sub-discipline. It will also assess the ability of the students not only to analyse the subject material, but to perform research in the sub-discipline, and present a structured, articulate argument on the subject. The formative essay will assist in preparation for the summative essay

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 8 Weekly 2 hours 16
Preparation and Reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay of 3,000 words 3,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Students will be required to complete an essay of no more than 1500 words on a topic that will be provided in week 2 of the Term

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University