Utrecht Summer School logo
Utrecht University logo

Understanding and Managing Mergers and Acquisitions

Organizing institution
Utrecht University, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance (UU)
Course code
Course fee (incl. housing)
€ 875
Advanced bachelor level

Many executives say they use M&A as a means to consolidate or expand the market position of their firm or increase its productive efficiency. Most mergers and acquisitions, however, fail to create value, leading to the so-called ‘merger paradox’. By adopting a multidisciplinary and institutional perspective, this course aims to increase the understanding of merger determinants and effects, discusses key topics for value creation, and concludes with policy assessments. On the last day the students will participate in a negotiation training workshop and will present their papers on a major M&A transaction in their home country.

This course deals with the economic, legal and financial aspects of Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A). The lectures will be given by reputable professors, as well as private equity fund managers, investment bankers and lawyers who are specialized in M&A.

According to the merger market, the global M&A deal volume reached a 7-year high of $934.2 billion in the second quarter of 2014, resulting in a 64%-increase compared to the same period last year and a 70%-increase compared to the second quarter of 2012 (Bloomberg M&A Financial Advisory League Tables, 2014). Major M&A transactions often catch newspaper headlines. Just recently, the unfriendly takeover bid of Mexico’s América Móvil for the Dutch telecom provider KPN and Apple’s successful acquisition of Beats Electronics (partly owned by rapper/producer Dr. Dre) for 3.2 billion dollars were extensively covered by the media. Moreover, smaller M&A transactions are part of the daily business life of many executives. They say that they use M&A as a way to consolidate or expand the market position of their firms or to increase their efficiency. Yet, most mergers and acquisitions repeatedly fail to generate economic value. This is why some experts talk about the ‘merger paradox’.
The explosive growth in the number, size, and complexity of mergers and acquisitions during the latter part of the 1990s and between 2003-2008 has demonstrated how ingrained this way of doing business has become in the global business community. Interestingly, an M&A outburst is always followed by a similar move, but in the opposite direction: downwards. Many acquirers subsequently pursue spin-offs or split-ups. These dynamics form the frame of a course that contributes to understanding the position of firms as well as authorities.

Day one of this course starts with an introductory presentation by the course leader Prof. Wilco Oostwouder about the legal playing field. The next introductory presentations of Prof. Hans Schenk will cover the full range of M&A economics from merger dynamics to merger policy.The second part of day one Prof. Luigi Pinna will deal with the valuation of (assets of) companies. In the following four days the lecturers will deal in a multidisciplinary and interactive way with topics that are key to managing M&A. The second day focuses on pre-acquisition requirements such as due diligence investigations, letter of intent and future organisational,, legal structuring of the target or even parent and strategy. The Share Purchase Agreement, post-acquisition governance of the target, successful exit strategies (with the help of instruments like “sweet equity” and “ratchets”) are taken up on the third day. With the knowledge gained in the first three days, the participants of the course will be well-prepared for the lectures about the bigger fish in the pond, the larger than 100 million euro transactions: public takeover bids (day four). In the morning of the last day the students will participate in a negotiation training workshop following the Harvard Principled Negotiation method. The afternoon of the last day will be reserved for student presentations of their papers on major M&A transactions in their home country and for the exams for students which need a mark.

The summer course will be concluded by the distribution of certificates and a canal tour through the old city of Utrecht, and drinks.

Tags: mergers, acquisitions, take-overs, m&, a, economics and law, merger paradox, value, share purchase agreement, due diligence, negotiation training

» Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Bookmark and Share


Prof. dr. Wilco J. Oostwouder


Ambitious bachelor students (from economics, management, business, or law backgrounds) who are keen to appreciate a non-mainstream, multidisciplinary and interactive approach to M&A and who are interested in improving their negotiation skills.

Students from other faculties with a keen interest in law and economics, Ph.D. students and in exceptional cases even academic professionals can be admitted.


To provide ambitious bachelor students (economic, management, business, law) with modern insights into economic causes and effects of M&A, relevant transaction documents (like the Share Purchase Agreement) and valuations, to learn how to write and present a concise academic paper on M&A. This course is an excellent introduction to the Master course “Mergers, Acquisitions and Restructuring” in the LLM/MSc programme Law & Economics/Economics & Law at Utrecht University.


Contact hours daily: 4-5 hours (lectures, group assignments)

Self-study daily: 4 hours (preparation and research)

A final exam can be part of the course. You will be required to provide a short research paper on a notable actual case related to the subject of the course or for students which need a grade to do a written exam.
Grading is based on a 10-point scale on the weighted sum of different elements.


• € 875 - Course + course materials + housing
• € 675 - Course + course materials

» Overview of all available discounts


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.


Prof. dr. Wilco J. Oostwouder

06 229 38313


» Contact Utrecht Summer School


Deadline for registration: 22 July 2017

Application closed