The failed birth of a giant: lessons learned from the collapse of the EADS / BAE systems merger

Par Pierre Barbaroux, Blandine Laperche
This paper deals with the project of a merger between BAE systems and EADS, announced in September 2012 and finally cancelled one month later. It investigates the rationale of the merger project and the reasons that explain its collapse. Our first aim is to assess the importance - usually put forward in the literature - of the pre-merger phase in the success or the failure of a merger project. Our second aim is to put forward the specificities of mergers when defence firms are involved. Using a single case study methodology, we show that the economic rationality of the project was based on industrial complementaries, economic synergies and personal motives. We then investigate the many political divergences, specific to the defence industry, which emerged during the pre-merger phase. Finally, the paper draws on the implications of the failure of the merger project.
JEL Codes: L10, L64, G34
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