Vertical or horizontal?

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    Seun Yakub

    Are companies better served by making acquisitions of competitors or by extending up and down the industry’s supply chain with vertical acquisitions?


    Anjeli Narine

    I suppose it would depend on what the acquiring company’s goal is/ what the driver is for the desire to conduct an M&A. The company would be best serve by an acquisition which meets its goals. For e.g. if its goal is eliminating competitors to create a monopoly or become a market leader, then acquiring competitors would best serve its needs, while if its goal is entering new markets or creating synergies in its products line then a vertical acquisition would best serve its needs.


    Zach Dogar

    Yes I agree with Anjeli. It depends entirely on the strategic goals of the acquirer.


    Jenny Ewen

    I think you also have to do a thorough market analysis of the competitive forces to know the impacts on the company and the downstream market impacts that could also result that would then come back to either help/hinder the company in the longer run.


    Gabriele Frigerio

    I think Porter would be a good reference in answering question. It would depend on strategy of buying company.


    Riccardo Scaioli

    It would depend – as many have already confirmed – on the strategy of the acquirer: of course a company can also decide to apply both strategies together, and acquire “vertical” AND “horizontal”. This would need to be planned, but can be very useful for evaluating in the longer term which of the two strategies has been more beneficial for the acquirer, and base future deals on these data.


    Well, I would say in reality I have not seen many examples of vertical transactions that worked really well. Maybe if it comes to securing access to specific resources / suppliers it does (backward integration). But acquiring a customer and starting to compete with your customers could be a dangerous move …


    my 2 cent on that is that really depend of the industry and the ressources the company have. Like Dr. Kummer said i don’t think its a good idea to buy your customer or supplier. I think its better to focus on your core business and let people who are good at something do that. Imagine Walmart growing vegetable or making toys…. Like Polycom did in the past buy an enterprise who can feel a hole in the product it’s a good strategy. The only reason to go vertical is for a strategic move like sécurisation of a special ressources or a special technology. All major player outsource a lot these days.



    As a counterpoint, can someone identify examples of when vertical made sense, and may have been successful? I think it would help ensure professionals take a balanced approach and keep an open mind, depending on the industry dynamics and company situation.

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