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Paper info: Are Customers And Suppliers Part(Icipants) Of A Merger Or An Acquisition? - A Literature Review


Are Customers And Suppliers Part(Icipants) Of A Merger Or An Acquisition? - A Literature Review


Helén Anderson
Jönköping International Business School
Helén Anderson , Johan Holtstrom and
Virpi Havila
Uppsala University
Virpi Havila

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 19th IMP-conference in Lugano, Switzerland in 2003.


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In literature dealing with mergers and acquisitions (M&As) the implicit assumption is that through a merger or an acquisition a company can get access also to the target company's customers and suppliers. But whether in reality it does that or not, has to do with how the customers and suppliers act or react towards the acquisition/merger. The purpose with this paper is to find out if, and in what way, customers and suppliers have been recognised in the M&A literature.The M&A literature has most often focused on the two (or several) merging parties, e.g., the strategic and organisational fit, and synergy between the companies, leaving the parties connected to the merging companies without explicit attention. Therefore, in this paper we question to what extent we really know anything about how customers and suppliers to the merging companies perceive and/or behave in relation to an acquisition or a merger. We report here an in-depth review of articles from eight different journals covering the years 1984 to 2002/2003. Four types of journals were chosen for the review: (1) journals covering strategic issues (Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review and Strategic Management Journal); (2) journals covering international issues (International Studies of Management & Organization, Journal of International Business Studies; (3) journals covering organisational issues (Organizational Dynamics, Organization Studies); and (4) one journal covering marketing issues (Journal of Marketing). In this way we expected to be able to cover research on both the supplier and the customer side of a business enterprise. The literature review shows that the overwhelming majority of the articles included in the review do not consider customers and suppliers at all in connection with M&As. Further, those articles that mention suppliers and customers do it in terms of, e.g., market share or supplier base. Thus, we argue that we need to enhance our understanding by explicitly focusing not only on the merging parties but also on the customers and suppliers to the merging parties.