Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module ECON42415: Mergers and Acquisitions (MSc Finance)

Department: Business School (Economics and Finance)

ECON42415: Mergers and Acquisitions (MSc Finance)

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap
Tied to L1K209
Tied to L1K309
Tied to L1K709
Tied to L1K809
Tied to L1K509
Tied to L1K109
Tied to N3K109
Tied to N3K209
Tied to N3K309
Tied to N3K609
Tied to N3K709


  • None


  • Advanced Financial Theory (ECON41215) and Corporate Finance (ECON41315)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to develop students' ability to master the knowledge and understanding at an advanced level of key issues in M&A, building on Advanced Financial Theory and Corporate Finance;
  • to provide students with the opportunity to develop their ability to critically understand current theoretical and empirical research in the field of M&A;
  • to provide students with the ability to critically review this specialised complex area of knowledge with a view to undertaking a Finance dissertation in the field of M&A and potentially future research work in this area.


  • Overview of M&As;
  • Takeover tactics and takeover defence;
  • Leveraged transactions and corporate restructuring;
  • Target valuation;
  • Empirical tests of M&A performance;
  • Value creation through M&As;
  • Cross-border acquistions and risk.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should have:
  • furthered their knowledge of finance and corporate finance, to gain advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the principles and practice of corporations involved in M&A, including those associated with cross-border acquisitions and risk;
  • an understanding of the implications of agency theory considerations, and modes of payment including the complexity and contradictions inherent in managerial decisions relevant to M&A decisions;
  • explored, understood and appreciated the complexity and contradictions of the current academic literature on M&A and its implications for professional practice.
  • the ability to learn and work independently in the area of M&A, exercising critical judgement and discrimination in the resolution of complex problematic situations;
  • the ability to apply problem solving and analytical skills (similar to corporate finance theory) in the context of M&A.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • have advanced level skills in valuing targets and assessing the potential sources of gains from M&A;
  • be able to use highly specialised and advanced financial technical, professional and academic skills in the analysis of relevant specific problems in the area of M&A.
Key Skills:
  • Written Communication;
  • Planning, Organising and Time Management;
  • Problem Solving and Analysis;
  • Using Initiative;
  • Numeracy;

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

  • A combination of lectures, seminars and guided reading will contribute to achieving the aims and learning outcomes of this module. The summative by examination will test the learning outcomes by requiring students to demonstrate their understanding of key issues in M&A and their ability to analyse specific problems in M&A.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 1 per week 2 hours 18
Seminars 4 1 per fortnight 1 hour 4
Preparation & Reading 126
Revision session 1 1 2 hours 2
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2 hours 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Work prepared by students for seminars; answers to questions either discussed during a seminar, or posted on DUO. Verbal formative feedback will be given to students as a group throughout the seminars.

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