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Definition: The purchase of one corporation by another, through either the purchase of its shares, or the purchase of its assets .
There's only one real way to achieve massive growth literally overnight, and that's by buying somebody else's company. Acquisition has become one of the most popular ways to grow today. Since 1990, the annual number of mergers and acquisitions has doubled, meaning that this is the most popular era ever for growth by acquisition.
Companies choose to grow by acquiring others to increase market share, to gain access to promising new technologies, to achieve synergies in their operations, to tap well-developed distribution channels, to obtain control of undervalued assets, and a myriad of other reasons. But acquisition can be risky because many things can go wrong with even a well-laid plan to grow by acquiring: Cultures may clash, key employees may leave, synergies may fail to emerge, assets may be less valuable than perceived, and costs may skyrocket rather than fall. Still, perhaps because of the appeal of instant growth, acquisition is an increasingly common way to expand.