A:

Corporate mergers and acquisitions can vary considerably in the time they take to be completed. There are a number of individual steps that need to be successfully completed by two public companies before they are legally combined into a single entity in what is called a merger of equals.

The entire process officially starts with an offer made by one company to another, but both companies will likely be involved in closed door discussions about the proposed merger before any official announcement of a merger proposal are made. Once the merger is officially proposed, the financial details are specified and then distributed to the shareholders of both companies. At this point, the shareholders must vote to approve the merger. Assuming the required votes are obtained from both sides, the merger is typically reviewed by government authorities to determine whether it conforms to antitrust laws. The length of time this process takes can vary considerably from one merger to another depending on the size and complexity of the companies involved and the industries in which they happen to operate.

Because the time between the announcement of a merger and its completion can vary, the companies involved usually announce an expected time frame for completion. Once the merger proposal passes all the necessary hurdles, a precise date of combination is announced which, when reached, legally merges the two companies.

To learn more, check out The Basics of Mergers and Acquisitions.

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