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What is 'Synergy'

Synergy is the concept that the value and performance of two companies combined will be greater than the sum of the separate individual parts. Synergy is a term that is most commonly used in the context of mergers and acquisitions. Synergy, or the potential financial benefit achieved through the combining of companies, is often a driving force behind a merger. Shareholders will benefit if a company's post-merger share price increases due to the synergistic effect of the deal. The expected synergy achieved through the merger can be attributed to various factors, such as increased revenues, combined talent and technology, or cost reduction.

BREAKING DOWN 'Synergy'

Mergers and acquisitions are made with the goal of improving the company's financial performance for the shareholders. Two businesses can merge to form one company that is capable of producing more revenue than either could have been able to independently, or to create one company that is able to eliminate or streamline redundant processes, resulting in significant cost reduction. Because of this principle, the potential synergy is examined during the merger and acquisition process. If two companies can merge to create greater efficiency or scale, the result is what is sometimes referred to as a synergy merge.

For example, when the Proctor & Gamble Company acquired Gillette in 2005, a P&G news release cited that "The increases to the company's growth objectives are driven by the identified synergy opportunities from the P&G/Gillette combination. The company continues to expect cost synergies of approximately $1 to $1.2 billion…and an increase in the annual sales run-rate of about $750 million by 2008." In the same press release, then P&G chairman, president and chief executive A.G. Lafley stated, "…We are both industry leaders on our own, and we will be even stronger and even better together." This is the idea behind synergy - that by combining two companies the financial results are greater than what either could have achieved alone.

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