In today's competitive business environment, many companies rely on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to fuel their growth and gain access to critical assets such as technology, intellectual property, customers, and human capital. It has also become the preferred exit strategy for many entrepreneurs, particularly in Silicon Valley’s technology sector. Empirical evidence, however, indicates that the majority of M&A transactions fail to provide positive returns to the shareholders of the acquiring firms, and many actually lead to significant loss of value due to inadequate planning and poor execution.

Combining the expertise of Stanford’s strategy, finance, accounting, legal, and organizational behavior faculty with insights from top M&A practitioners, the Mergers and Acquisitions program offers a unique, interdisciplinary overview of the major elements of M&A transactions. Participants will acquire critical insights and powerful tools for the successful formulation and execution of a merger and acquisition strategy that creates value for their organizations.

Optional Accounting Refresher: July 27, 2014
Program tuition includes private accommodations, all meals, and course materials.

Program Overview

This new program examines all of the key aspects of integrating organizations—target selection, valuation, deal design, negotiation, accounting and tax planning, and organizational alignment—covering the concepts in a sequential order that simulates the M&A process from beginning to end. Topics covered include alternative valuation and pricing models, negotiation strategies, integration planning, and the post-merger retention of human and intellectual capital. This program also includes a team simulation project that will provide participants the opportunity to apply key concepts to a simulated merger deal. Through a dynamic mix of lectures, case studies, class discussions, experiential learning, and guest speakers from Silicon Valley firms, the program explores M&A issues from the perspectives of all key stakeholders in the process, including the board of directors, top executives, line managers, and employees.

Two basic accounting tutorials presented by the faculty director are offered on Sunday, July 27, 2014, for participants looking for a refresher.

Faculty Director
Other Faculty
Ron Kasznik

Professor of Accounting; Paul L. and Phyllis Wattis Professor of Management

Ron Kasznik is Professor of Accounting and Bob and Marilyn Jaedicke Faculty Fellow for 2013-2014 at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. He joined the GSB in 1995 after receiving his PhD in Accounting from the University of California at Berkeley. He specializes in financial accounting and its interactions with the capital markets. Specifically, his research looks at the determinants and outcomes of corporate discretionary disclosures, with particular emphasis on managerial incentives to manage expectations of future firm performance. These incentives are attributable to financial transactions such as M&A and other corporate restructuring, as well as executive compensation plans.

Thomas M. Siebel Professor of Business Leadership, Strategy, and Organizations; Codirector of the Executive Program in Strategy and Organization; Affiliated Faculty, Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford

Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance; Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Adams Distinguished Professor of Management; Director of the Managing Teams for Innovation and Success Executive Program Director of the Influence and Negotiation Strategies Executive Program; Codirector of the Executive Program for Women Leaders

Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources; Director of the Managing Talent for Strategic Advantage Executive Program; Codirector of the Customer- Focused Innovation Executive Program

Professor of Finance

Mergers and Acquisitions – An Overview
Learn about the new Stanford Mergers and Acquisitions program and how it can help you approach M&A transactions and deals more successfully.
Key Takeaways
  • Strategies and tools to implement a successful merger or acquisition
  • Understanding of all aspects of M&As (strategy, finance, accounting, negotiations, legal, and organizational behavior)
  • Heightened awareness of the common pitfalls of failed M&As
  • Development of critical competencies needed for successful post-merger integration and performance

Highlighted Sessions

Negotiation: Getting (More of) What You Want
The process of negotiation requires an understanding of both the negotiator's and counterpart's interests and preferences. But many negotiators do not give sufficient consideration to developing a grasp of what they want and even more negotiators do not have sufficient insight into the perspectives of their counterpart to put forward value-creating proposals. Two sessions will explore strategies to follow and pitfalls to avoid to enable negotiators to get more of what they want out of negotiations by improving the quality of their planning and preparation processes.

M&A Tax Planning
Deciding on a particular structure for an M&A deal can have major income tax implications for both the buyer and seller, and it is imperative that even the nonfinancial executive understands the fundamentals of successful M&A tax planning. During two class sessions, participants will gain familiarity with several basic tax structures for M&A deals, understand the circumstances under which particular structures are more favorable, and recognize how a carefully planned tax strategy can help maximize the potential value of a particular deal.

Post-Merger Integration
Before an M&A deal is done, the planning of successfully integrating and managing the newly combined organization should be well underway. Using research and business cases as references, participants analyze and discuss the structural, cultural, and social implications of combining organizations. Over the course of two sessions, participants identify the core components of a post-merger integration model to capture and deliver the potential value of merger opportunities. Sessions will also provide practical tools for cultural integration.

Who Should Attend?

This program is designed for senior-level executives and entrepreneurs whose firms are potential acquirers or targets for acquisition by another firm. Examples of functions and titles include business development, corporate development, finance, CEO, general manager, strategic planner, and banker. Although the program does not assume any prior experience in M&A, applicants should have at least 10 years of management experience.
Merging, acquiring, or being acquired are some of the most important means by which companies and entrepreneurs respond to changing economic and financial conditions.
– Ron Kaznick
Professor of Accounting
Stanford Graduate School of Business
We are excited to launch this new program that utilizes the research-based knowledge of some of our leading faculty to provide an interdisciplinary overview of the strategic, financial, legal, organizational, and cultural factors associated with the successful planning and execution of M&A transactions.
– Ron Kaznick
Professor of Accounting
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Our goal is to provide program participants the tools that will help them identify and access the potential value offered by acquiring or selling companies.
– Ron Kaznick
Professor of Accounting
Stanford Graduate School of Business


Stanford University
The Stanford campus is world renowned for its natural beauty, Spanish mission-style architecture, and temperate climate. With more than 8,180 acres (3,310 hectares), Stanford's campus ranks as one of the largest in the United States. Participants in Stanford's Executive Programs become part of a quintessential university setting, residing together, walking or biking to classes, and enjoying access to Stanford University facilities.
The Knight Management Center
Opened in spring 2011, the Knight Management Center has transformed the Stanford Graduate School of Business into a vibrant and unified indoor-outdoor, living and learning community. Participants will take classes at this new state-of-the-art campus, which features tiered classrooms with extensive floor-to-ceiling glass, the latest in audiovisual technology, numerous breakout and study rooms, outdoor seating areas to encourage informal discussion, and an open collaboration lab that employs hands-on and design thinking techniques.
Schwab Residential Center
Designed by renowned Mexican architect, Ricardo Legorreta, the Schwab Residential Center gives residents ample privacy while promoting collegial interaction through shared lounges, outdoor meeting areas, a library, and an exercise room.

Program Feature

The M&A team simulation project has been designed around the unique needs of executive-level participants. This Stanford GSB proprietary project spans the entire week of the program, and provides hands-on experience with all aspects of an M&A deal, giving you the opportunity to implement the tools acquired throughout the week. At the end of the week, teams will present their decisions and outcomes to share their learning.


Shalini Bhatia
Director, Programs and Marketing
Phone: +1.650.724.7409