Daily Review: What Big Mergers of 2017 Tell Us About 2018

Benjamin Gomes-Casseres, an expert in alliance strategy and a professor at the International Business School, Brandeis University, has been studying, teaching, and consulting on the strategy of business combinations. Ben Gomes-Casseres is an authority on alliance strategy and management. He has researched this topic for 30 years, taught it to MBAs and executives, and consulted with major companies worldwide.

The latest in the series of articles from Gomes-Casseres is a great summary of not only the most meaningful M&As of this year but, more importantly, their impact on individuals and businesses. In his latest article called What the Big Mergers of 2017 Tell Us About 2018, written for MIT Technology Review, Gomes-Casseres pays special attention to the most intriguing companies of modern tech world – Amazon, Google, Dell, Microsoft, Pfizer, and others, and their M&A activities that are critical to paying attention to in 2018 and beyond.

What do the most remarkable deals of 2017 tell us about this remix and its effects on our daily lives, the author asks? I won’t go over all the areas but will cite two of the most interesting events that will have an impact on our lives in years ahead.

The machines that run our world. The tech world itself is also being remixed, and it started early in this merger cycle. The $67-billion merger of Dell and EMC and the $26-billion merger of Microsoft and LinkedIn both closed last year and are being implemented now. Apple, Facebook, and Google were quiet this year on the acquisition front (perhaps they have become big enough), beyond making fake merger news headlines. Still, there are pockets of tech that remain ripe for consolidation, according to Broadcom, which made a $105 billion hostile bid for Qualcomm, to the chagrin of Google and Microsoft, who fear Apple is behind this. Yes, the mighty tech gods are fighting for control of the machines that run our world.

Who owns whose assets? The global remix is not new at all. It has been going on for decades, led by the American multinational companies that first conquered foreign markets in the 1950s and 1960s. The direction of this investment flow has been shifting as foreign companies invest in the United States. The 2015 merger of Kraft and Heinz was led by Brazil’s hard-driving 3G Capital, which was also behind the $100-billion merger in 2016 of Anheuser Busch and Miller. But international mergers are not without resistance, as PPG found this year in its failed bid for Akzo Nobel, and as the Chinese government pulled up barriers this year to acquisitions abroad by Chinese firms.

Read the full article, where Gomes-Casseres also pays attention to such areas as our health, mobility, how we make things, how we buy things, and even what we watch.