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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Economics and Finance

ECON491JN: Mergers and Acquisitions (MSc Management)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2021/22
Tied to N2P209J Management (Finance) (commencing in January) (suspended for 21/22)


  • None


  • None

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;
  • 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 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:
  • an advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the principles and practice of corporations involved in M&A, including those associated with cross-border acquistions and risk;
  • an understanding of the implications of agency 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 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 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;
  • Computer Literacy.

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 written assignment 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: Written assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written assignment which will require students to demonstrate their understanding of key issues in M&A and their ability to analyse specific problems in M&A 2,500 words (maximum) 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