April 28, 2015 at 9:27 am
Im doing topic 19. I have searched the forums for information about topic 19 but I only found one that didnt have a reply. My strength is financial management and the company I decided to do my project was acquired about 9 years hence my choice of topic 19. Im using the Kaplan Oxford Brookes project guide so I have an idea of what I ought to do but Im totally lost on the years to do my analysis on. My issue is my topic appears to require pre, post and current ratio analysis. The 2015 exemplar actually states on page 3,
“through detailed analysis of the financial position pre-acquisition and post-acquisition, and to analyse the reasons for any improvement or decline; along with outlining operational consequences of the acquisition.”
Do I then have to have a 3 year pre-acq, 3 year post and 3 most recent years analysis as in topic 8?
Im totally stuck now as I do not think 7500 words will be enough to make a thorough analysis of so many years.
The company is in the retail industry, which model can I use?
Do I have to analyse any parent data or just the acquired firm?
Is it a must to use a comparator for the pre and post analysis or I can just use the comparator to compare the acquired companies most financial performance.
Please help! From your advice on other topic I know I can rely on your advice.
Thank you for your time.April 28, 2015 at 12:04 pm
@ruva – Thank you for taking the time to search for your topic. Topic 19 “An analysis and evaluation of the financial and operational consequences of a merger between two organisations or of the acquisition of one organisation by another” as you have discovered is not a popular topic I suspect because it involves a fair amount of research and application whereas some of the topics tend to be approached in a bit of a rote manner!
I have a few constraints on my time right now so I will answer in more detail either later today or tomorrow. What I suggest you do though is read through my whole 3 part article on Evaluation available via our homepage http://www.opentuition.com/obu to get a feel for the general approach to Evaluation and Analysis (as this is the key element for passing and a frequent cause of failure). Then I suggest that you copy your question above to the existing Topic 19 (even if there are no answers yet on there) so that we can develop this topic. (you should be able to use the normal copy and paste facility to do this)
Briefly regarding your questions about a comparator – no, one is not relevant for T19 – this is a T8 requirement and again the 3 years comparisons are not relevant either. Your focus should be on setting out what the business (and if possible the financial) objectives of the merger/acquisition were and then evaluating whether and how well these were achieved (or not achieved as the case maybe). Have a think about how you can obtain research data for this and I will explore some research approaches with you when I have more time.
Trephena – OT OBU Forum ModeratorApril 30, 2015 at 12:26 am
Good day Trephena,
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I will copy and paste as you have stated. I have also read the 3 part article and it has been very helpful.
Thank you.April 30, 2015 at 8:55 am
I will admit that my actual strength for you with this topic will be more a case of telling you what to avoid and giving advice of a more general nature rather than being able to tell you what you should do in detail… I did work for a company (that is now a household name in the UK) that was involved in a merger several years ago but I was a (willing) victim of one of the thousands of redundancies that preceded the actual merger so wasn’t actually involved in it. I therefore am only able to draw upon a limited amount of experience! (By the way I don’t know if you intended to submit in P31 but I think it would be a Herculean task to do this adequately now to meet the Assessment Criteria for P30 unless you have absolutely no other commitments and it would still be quite a feat then as you have less than 3 weeks to go)
Notwithstanding this – the most important thing for you right now will be to set VERY clear objectives that are related to the topic title (statement of the obvious I know but you would be surprised how many people start to deviate right from the start!). The objectives should be used to guide your research and your findings should demonstrate that you have used these to come to your conclusions. The Kaplan book should help you with this but also I suggest that you take a look at Google Scholar and feed in a few key words e.g. by using the phrase “Evaluating a merger” I was able to bring up some academic articles. Many of these will be to a certain extent far too advanced in their level of detail they go into, particularly when it comes to the mathematical formulae (unless you already have a maths degree!), however the early parts of them will give you some indication of factors that you should try to investigate e.g. Operating efficiencies, employee productivity, profit performance and average relative efficiency pre and post merger.
Note: With Google Scholar you will find that many of the articles are from journals and have to be bought BUT if you look at the right hand side you will find that occasionally some are available as pdf / htlm and these are usually free (another trick if you find any that you have to pay for, is to feed the author name and title into another search and sometimes you may find that the author has allowed their own version to be made available FOC). I don’t know if this will be of any use to you but you may find this checklist can be adapted for your purpose for example so take a look as at this point you need to get some ideas::
Regarding models – you may be able to adapt some that you find in the articles otherwise you should be able to fall back on the SWOT and PESTLE. In this case you need to apply them specifically in the context of the merger – the strengths that the merger has brought out and any weaknesses that it may entail (you could to a pre and post SWOT even).
Remember your analysis and findings will dictate the grade (and whether you pass or fail) and you have to show that you have made a contribution of your own to the analysis not just described what went on.
Again I have run out of time right now but let me know how you are getting on with the above.May 1, 2015 at 10:40 am
Thank you for taking time to help people like myself. I am very grateful.
I am submitting in period 30 and have done most of the ground work. I am able to put in at least 6 hours a day and I am currently a full-time student. My report is about 3000 words so far. My project objectives and research questions my report will answer are already in place. I am moving on to the remaining 4500 which will be the analysis part and indeed the most important. I have researched about the acquired company and already have my SWOT analysis ready to type. I have captured my post-acquisition financials for the acquired company and its competitor and have already done the ratio analysis. I am well-versed in IT so the graphs will not take me long to do. I am left with the pre-acquisition financials as I did not know what to do but since getting help from you I am clearer. I think this part will be quicker as I already have the template from the pre-acq financials.
I also want to apply a model to do a business analysis of the parent but I am yet to determine which one best fits my report.
I had been using Google scholar but not as effectively as you mentioned.
Do you still think I am doing the impossible?
Thank you once again for your help.
RuvaMay 1, 2015 at 11:05 am
@ruva – If part of your RAP is already complete and you have a clear plan and the relevant skills then no, it is not impossible. Your main focus must be on setting out relevant objectives that will fulfil the RAP title and being able to evaluate your findings adequately.
I normally would recommend 3 months for a Grade A standard RAP and at least a month for a basic pass but that is a general guide as student ability varies considerably.
BTW the word count for Parts 1 & 2 are merely a Guide and without doubt it is the quality of the Evaluation & Analysis that will determine whether you pass or fail. The marker will want to see what you are “bringing to the party” – and will grade you mostly on what you are adding (after all just citing what has gone on and using other people’s work without critically assessing it does not really demonstrate any real skills apart from being able to research and edit!). Analyse the impact of the merger on various stakeholders and support this with evidence from your research (all well referenced of course!) and show how the merger has impacted on the financials and offer sensible commentary on this (again with independent evidence from business articles if possible) and remember ratio analysis on its own is just a tool – a means to an end (it is the end that is important i.e. the significance of the ratios in the context of the merger and what has driven them). This way you will avoid the common trap of many topics of not bringing in any original work by merely describing what has gone on and making obvious statements.
PS I am not sure why you are still insisting on having a competitor – this would normally be superfluous and should only be included IF you can show how it really relates to the RAP title and is relevant to your findings
Good luck! 🙂May 1, 2015 at 2:02 pm
Thank you once again.
I saw the issue of the comparator/ competitor from the 2015 exampler. I also didnt see the reason since the project is generally about evaluating financial and operational consequences.
It would be such a huge relief as the issues surrounding the acqujsition are many and very interesting. You initially said your strength is what not to do but it appears everything you are advising me is so spot on.
I have downloaded and read over 50 journals and articles. I also have a couple of relevant texts.
I will definetly update you on my anslysis.
Thank you a million times over. You are just too kind ????
Ruva.May 1, 2015 at 4:46 pm
@ruva – at the risk of sounding like a stuck record: just keep your objectives clear and present the evidence that answers your research questions clearly in the Findings. When you do your conclusions and any recommendations they need to be based on what you found (you would be surprised how many students make sweeping statements about how a company has achieved this and that without having supplied any evidence in their findings to base such statements on > result > FAIL)
Evaluate your findings from different points of view e.g. cutting overheads through redundancies may have helped margins and increased the share price but has it demotivated workers who remain as they may now have extra duties and no more pay for this? etc (This approach is what markers mean by questioning and critiquing in their feedback and what contributes to the critical thinking element required for a pass)
Glad you are finding the work interesting (that is the main reason I recommend students don’t choose T8 as although other topics may be more challenging to do they are often more interesting and exciting). It is also encouraging for other students when they see someone has deviated from choosing T8 as they then realise that possibly they could do a different topic.
(Be careful about information overload – be selective in what you read – I know research is the exciting bit 😀 but you have a VERY limited time to get your work completed!! )May 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm
Those were meant to be exclamation marks !!!!!
I also put a smiley face… it must have wondered off.
As you can tell Im more excited about my challenge. With the help of dedicated people like you I think more students will overcome the fear of doing the not so common topics. You really made doing this topic worthwhile.
Now I just want to pass to make you proud ????
Am I allowed to mention you in my skills and learning statement. I really would because I came so close to dropping this topic and doing topic 8 which would have meant deferring to period 31.
I cant thank you enough.May 2, 2015 at 3:39 pm
@ruva – There is only one little problem that has occurred to me as I have re-read our exchange and that is that the merger took place 9 years ago. That does not mean your work is invalid but you will have to show that you have incorporated some recent research into your findings. One of the problems universities face is students recycling other students’ work. ( I suspect this is the main reason why OBU INSISTS that T8 RAPs have to use the most recent data) So a marker will raise the obvious question “why has this student chosen to do this when it happened so long ago?” – they may start to presume that you have got hold of work that had previously been submitted and have just updated this..
I don’t want to worry you unduly but I think you need to preempt this little problem by briefly covering it in your Part 1 and possibly in Part 2 stating the limitations of the data you have. You can also mention it in your SLS – how doing T8 wasn’t very inspiring and you wanted the challenge of doing a different topic. I think as long as you are able to show that the work is yours and you are using some current data you will be able to overcome any doubts that the markers may have. Obviously if you are able to show some continuous trends pre and post acquisition up to now it will really strengthen your standing on this. (It may also be useful to keep copies of some of your drafts so that should OBU need to question you about when your work was produced you can show them how you built it up). As I say don’t worry too much right now as you have your deadline to work to and it may be one of those things that may never happen anyway.
With the SLS you need to take the approach that up to now you have mainly been involved in studying and writing answers in exams but you have had to learn how to do an acceptable academic piece of work – which in itself is quite daunting. So think of all the new skills you had to acquire (among them the dreaded referencing 🙁 !!!!) – and how it has introduced you to how to research academic papers etc.but also say how your strengths are in financial management so you decided to draw on that. What they are really looking for is what life lessons and skills you learned and what you learned about yourself (including any personal weaknesses) and what may be useful to you in the future in both your career and in your social as well as professional interactions. You can certainly refer to Open Tuition (the actual questions in the SLS say mentor because OBU expects most of the guidance to come from the mentor but it is perfectly acceptable to seek advice from any source if it helps).May 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm
Thank you for highlighting that point.
Here’s what happened; the company Im doing my project on was acquired 8/9 years back in 2007 when it was making very healthy profits. Today the same company is on the verge of collapse. The reasons why are so F9 like and very interesting. My analysis is 3 years pre-acq i.e 2004, 2005, 2006. My post-acq is the 3 most recent years. My SWOT analysis will mainly rely on annual reports and articles from business websites. It will be pre-acq SWOT and current i.e where the company stands as of this year.
The time lapse will enable be to analyse the financial and operational consequences i.e to see if the acquisition was a success. Please correct me if Im wrong because I wrote that reason in my project.
I have to date collected and read over 120 articles and journal, though quite a number are reporting on the same story. I have a separate folder for the ones I will actually use in my project. I do not have a draft project because I was typing but I do have my rough notebook which concurs what is in my report, that I initially intended to do topic 8 until I discovered the company was acquired. Topic 8 wasnt going to work anyway because the company has been making losses for the past 3 years.
What came first…… the company. I had my own reasons for selecting it, then I chose the topic. It was after researching on the topic that I found it was not a common topic but that didnt matter because I wanted to tell the story of “my” ailing company.
Can I use my notebook, downloads, and print outs as proof that it was my own work.
You mentioned, on another forum, that using a diagram from the internet would be copywriting. I found a diagram showing the number of acquisitions in the country of the acquired company. What if I create my own graph to represent the same data, how do I then reference it. Do I reference the graph or the page where I got it from.
Thank you once again for your support and advice.May 4, 2015 at 11:10 pm
@ruva – I am much reassured by your comments – it sounds quite logical now that you have set it out and the time lapse as you explain it makes perfect sense. I think you put some of this briefly in Part 1 but just as ‘an insurance policy’ (just in case you get a ‘hard’ marker ) you do a special Appendix and explain you have produced this Appendix with more details relating to your choice in case OBU is concerned that this might not be your original work. However I think you will be all right.
(You can upload at least 6 appendices – probably nearer 10 other documents – in addition to the mandatory report, SLS, Presentation, Ref List and spreadsheet). Just call it something like “Background to choosing this Topic and Company’ – then you can go into more detail about how you were going to do T8 without it all affecting the word count. BTW If you still have your comparator information keep hold of it along with all your other preparatory work but as I say I would hope now there will be no problem – but forewarned is always forearmed!).
All of this though does make for some good self-reflection for the SLS, as in effect you did some of this in deciding to reject T8! With Q2 you need to consider the difficulties in achieving your report objectives, how you overcame them, what proved to be your strengths and what you might have done better with the benefit of hindsight (you can also mention how much effort you wasted on doing the comparator analysis!). Q3 you can mention communications on OT as an example of part of your effective communication and how by asking relevant questions you realised that you might be able to do T19, which you thought would be far more stimulating etc. With the SLS apparently the markers like comments that demonstrate the trials and tribulations of producing the RAP as they know that everything does not always go smoothly, or to plan and that too many students produce anodyne formulaic statements that just do not ring true…
Regarding your query with the diagram – yes technically there is a copyright issue but to be honest as you are not intending to profit financially from incorporating the diagram, provided you acknowledge its source I wouldn’t worry too much. Most writers only get upset if someone is using their original work passing it off as their own and/or making money out of it. In addition in academic circles it is accepted that provided everything is referenced in this regard it is acceptable for educational purposes 🙂
I think it sounds as if you have the makings of a very good RAP. As long as your analysis is good, I have high hopes for you, so may your efforts be well rewarded! 😀
PS You should keep a couple of copies of your work (preferably on different memory sticks in case your files get corrupted)May 9, 2015 at 12:47 pm
Thank you for that wonderful advice.
Sorry Ive just been a little busy. Im almost done with my project and Im now considering the submission part. I have posted my query about my mentor’s on the “Queries related to Mentors and Mentoring” forum.
I used a model and reproduced a replica of the Kaplan textbook diagram. Should I mention that its my own “drawing” of the Kaplan diagram or I should reference the Kaplan diagram? I hope my question makes sense.
Thank you.May 10, 2015 at 5:12 pm
@ruva – regarding your diagram – what I have done in a similar situation is written in brackets after the title or underneath where the reference would go something along the lines of this: (Author’s diagram after Kaplan, 2013) and then in the reference list would put Kaplan (2013) and give the original source details . The normal referencing rules apply e.g. if you have more than one reference for Kaplan 2013, then you would need to put Kaplan, 2013a or Kaplan, 2013b etc. to distinguish the different articles – or put page numbers in the text reference (Kaplan, 2013 p.57) if citing from a thick study manual.
One final bit of advice – just ensure in your evaluation section that you are not just describing the situation as you found it, but remember the important thing is to discuss the implications of what you found supported by examples as evidence with appropriate references. The amount of your original thought/input and this type of critical evaluation will be what decides the grade.
Good luck!May 25, 2015 at 9:03 pm
Good evening Trephena,
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP.
I managed to submit. Hope all goes well.
Thank you so so much.
RuvaSeptember 29, 2015 at 6:38 pm
I am quite new here and have just commenced my RAP topic 19. I will need the support of everyone to come through with the project once and for all.
WalesSeptember 29, 2015 at 7:33 pm
Hi Ruva/ Trephena
I have read through your earlier conversation. On business model, would it be fine to use CAMEL: A bank analysis model used by regulators for assessing the financial performance of the group pre and post acquisition.
Also I intend include McKinsey’s biz model for the analysis of the operational consequences of the acquisition.
Does the two models make sense please?September 30, 2015 at 6:28 pm
@olayinkaolawales – in principle yes the CAMELS model is appropriate if you can apply it well both pre and post – make sure you label them up clearly accordingly. And yes McKinsey if you think you have the information to apply it. Otherwise you can fall back on the stock SWOT model as it tends to cover everything e.g. what the merger /acquisition achieved (provided it was successful) in terms of strengths and opportunitie etc.
Congratulations for considering an ‘alternative’ Topic to T8! 🙂September 30, 2015 at 7:34 pm
Thank you Traphena. I will keep you informed of the progress of my RAP. I hope to complete the report mid next month to allow for detailed review and editing.December 20, 2015 at 11:42 am
I had a quick question and was hoping you might be able to help.
I was looking to write about the Bank of America Merrill Lynch merger for my RAP. Would this be a suitable topic to write about?
I have found quite a bit of information online, but a year before Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch, they also bought Countrywide. Would it be too difficult to identify the financial consequences of the Merrill Lynch acquisition, given the Countrywide acquisition’s impact on the financial statements?
Thanks in advance for any help!December 20, 2015 at 9:50 pm
@sam – This would probably make a good project if you approach it well (read all of my posts to ruva above as s/he came back and confirmed that they passed at their first attempt.with this topic).
It will be a bit more challenging because of the Companywide issue but that does not make it impossible it just introduces another facet that you will need to factor in. If you think the addition of this company to the ML portfolio was complementary and beneficial then you can explore this briefly (or conversely if you think this was disadvantageous as a business decision) . Discuss it and also you may need to discuss its implications on the ML pre-merger figures and mention any specific consequences of it for BoA post main merger.
Basically however you need to focus in your main analysis on the impact of the principal acquisition and do a rounded evaluation so as long as you approach this logically and clearly so that the marker can follow your approach then it should be fine. You may find that the best approach in this sense is to make full use of Appendices and show your workings clearly in there and bring them in and cross refer as appropriate. So when it comes to Countrywide’s figures, you need to bring in just enough but not too much intricate detail so that it does not detract too much from the main issue of BoA and ML (In this sense Countrywide is a side issue, though an important side issue).December 21, 2015 at 6:22 am
Thank you very much for your help, I really appreciate it!January 2, 2016 at 12:07 am
Ali Farooq OBU Registered MentorParticipant
Hope you are doing well.
I highly recommend topic 8 and 19 to students. This is an interesting topic to select. If you want to secure your good grade, do hard and smart job and get professional mentor guidance which can help you to achieve your desired grade.
Here is my professional advise for topic 19, Your primary objective of your project must assess the performance of the company whether it has improved or declined after the acquisition and to assess the overall impact the acquisition had on the company and other stakeholders.
Following are the main objectives of your research.
1) Financial impact
2) Operational consequences
3) Organizational structure and culture
4) Legal and regulatory issues
Your research questions should be following:
1) The motivating factors for the acquirers which led to the acquisition?
2) Is the organization benefited by the affect of synergy?
3) Overall pros and cons that came into view by the acquisition?
4) What are the financial consequences of the acquisition on the organization?
5) What are the operational consequences of the acquisition on the organization?
Hope the answer of the question.
ALI FAROOQ – ACCA Member & OBU Registered MentorFebruary 9, 2016 at 5:22 pm
I am a student currently studying part time and I wish to do my OBU Project this year. I have chosen to go forward with Topic 19. As such I have done some reading and narrowed down my choices of companies. Before proceeding I checked whether the companies follow IFRS or U.S. GAAP.
As I am a student who has so far studied and followed IFRS’s, I was wondering if there would be any roadblocks or difficulties that I possibly might face if I decide to do my project on a company who prepares the Financial Statements according to U.S. GAAP.February 9, 2016 at 7:32 pm
Ali Farooq OBU Registered MentorParticipant
If you have chosen topic 19, I can suggest you the following companies. You should develop your research skills to gather relevant information for your topic. Your mentor guide you how to create research skills.
The following companies led the mergers and acquisitions charge in 2014 in the USA.
1) Novartis AG and GlaxoSmithKline
2) Facebook Inc and WhatsApp
3) Actavis and Forest Laboratories
4) Reynolds American, Inc. and Lorillard Inc.
5) Halliburton Company and Baker Hughes Incorporated
6) Medtronic, Inc. and Covidien
7) Actavis and Allergan
8) AT&T Inc. and DirecTV
9) Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable Inc
You will find pre-acquisition and post-acquisition annual reports and other specific reports on merger and acquisition matter, I believe you will not be in trouble.
Here are some helpful tips for topic 19, you will have to evaluate the following issues:
1) Financial impact
2) Operational consequences
3) Organizational structure and culture
4) Legal and regulatory issues
You should bring all issues to the attention of your project Mentor and get his/her valuable advise.
OBU Registered Mentor
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