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Harvard Business School

Mergers and Acquisitions

Taking a Holistic View of Business Negotiation Strategy
Jan 12—17, 2020
6 days
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
USD 15500
USD 2583 per day

How it works


Across the globe, mergers and acquisitions are reshaping the corporate and competitive landscape. To help companies gain a strategic advantage and expand market share, this M&A program takes you inside the process—from strategy and valuation to execution and post-merger management. Whether your company is private or public, or looking to buy or to sell, you will emerge with new ability to broker powerful deals and create shareholder value.

Key Benefits

Completing a successful merger or acquisition is a multifaceted project that involves managing major teams across the organization. In this M&A course, you will acquire a critical cross-functional perspective of the mergers and acquisitions process. Through global case studies on the best practices of leading companies, you will learn how to forge strategic partnerships, navigate complex negotiations, and drive corporate growth.


Enable growth through an effective M&A process

  • Build stronger M&A strategies
  • Identify the right targets, assess business value accurately, and perform meaningful due diligence
  • Negotiate complex multi-party, multi-issue deals that boost corporate performance
  • Integrate new acquisitions efficiently and effectively

Expand your personal and professional network

  • Extend your network by living and working with accomplished executives from various backgrounds, industries, and countries across the globe
  • Build relationships with a diverse group of peers who can provide wide-ranging insights into your business challenges and career decisions

What You Will Learn

This mergers and acquisitions program provides a holistic view of the M&A process—from front-end target selection and search processes to approach strategies and execution to post-merger integration and management. Your rich learning experience will include faculty presentations, global case studies, valuation exercises, negotiation simulations, small group projects, and dynamic discussions.

In the process, you will delve into the challenges and opportunities presented by hedge fund activism, hostile takeovers, cross-border deals, corporate inversions, earn-outs, spin-offs, restructurings, and corporate governance. You also will examine different strategic approaches suited to private versus public companies in developed, emerging, and distressed economies.

Key Topics


  • Considering valuation through the lens of a consumer rather than a producer
  • Understanding the discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation
  • Applying comparable company analysis (CCA)
  • Analyzing financial statements and financial plans
  • Evaluating corporate and management performance


  • Building a negotiation toolkit around interest and option generation
  • Using the Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) assessment to achieve a better bottom line
  • Managing the complexities and cultural aspects of negotiation in cross-border deals
  • Considering the ethical and legal repercussions to ensure a win-win outcome


  • Optimizing tax benefits
  • Structuring earn-outs in private company deals
  • Identifying the right context for using earn-outs
  • Examining government influence and legal issues
  • Exploring regulatory and cultural barriers


  • Achieving strategic clarity
  • Understanding deal process design
  • Managing auction processes
  • Using sell-side and buy-side strategies
  • Stress-testing the business model

Post-merger management

  • Ensuring the best operational and cultural fit
  • Managing the integration of accounting systems
  • Structuring reporting lines and responsibilities
  • Selecting the right person to lead the integration team

Valuation 101 (Optional) * Understanding financial accounting principles and valuation techniques

Who should attend

This mergers and acquisitions course is designed for senior executives involved in M&A activity who want to broaden their knowledge of financial business valuation methods, negotiation strategies, and deal process design.

This program is of particular interest to:

  • Senior executives in the C-Suite
  • Directors of public and private companies
  • Board chairs and directors
  • Heads of strategy and corporate development
  • Key executives involved in integration, such as heads of human resources or information technology
  • Founders and CEOs of established startups
  • Investment bankers, transactional lawyers, and private equity investors

Attendance by multiple company representatives will foster teamwork and amplify the program's impact across your organization.


Professor Stuart Gilson is the Steven R. Fenster Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and former chairman of the Finance Area of the School. Professor Gilson’s research, teaching, and consulting activities focus on the operational, financial, and legal strategies ...
David G. Fubini is a Senior Lecturer in the Organizational Behavior Unit and co-leader of the Leading Professional Services Firm and Mergers & Acquisitions Programs for Harvard Business School’s Executive Education .   His MBA teaching has concentrated on teaching the Organizational Behavior,...
Kevin P. Mohan joined the Negotiation unit at Harvard Business School in 2012. He also serves as a Senior Advisor at Summit Partners, a $15 billion venture capital and private equity firm, and as an independent director for several companies and nonprofit entities. Kevin teaches Negotiations and ...


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