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Unit of study_

FINC6017: Mergers and Acquisitions

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Mergers and acquisitions are a fundamental component of the corporate landscape. Through this unit students study the economic and strategic drivers of corporate restructuring activity and their use in the design and analysis of restructuring transactions; evaluate the outcomes from restructuring transactions, both the theory based explanations and the empirical tests of the theories; learn to identify and value synergies in a restructuring transaction using several valuation methods; develop a detailed understanding of the design and economic impacts of deal structures used to effect corporate restructuring transactions; and analyse the process of merger arbitrage and its contribution to the outcome of restructuring transactions. Where possible this unit integrates learning outcomes in an academic and applied context, and develops an appreciation of the regulatory environment for restructuring transactions and the impact of these regulations on the process and outcomes of restructuring transactions.

Unit details and rules

Unit code FINC6017
Academic unit Finance
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Calculation of free cash flows, trading multiples, discounted cash flow valuation methodology, valuation sensitivities, regression analysis.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Danika Wright,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home short release) Type D final exam Final exam
Online exam, details will be provided on Canvas.
40% Formal exam period 1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Assignment 1
Individual assignment, details to be provided on Canvas.
15% Week 07
Due date: 12 Sep 2022 at 23:00
Outcomes assessed: LO5 LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO7
Assignment group assignment Assignment 2
Group work, details will be provided on Canvas.
30% Week 13 TBA
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation group assignment Group Presentation
Group presentation, details will be provided on Canvas
15% Week 13 TBA
Outcomes assessed: LO7
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type D final exam = Type D final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Individual assignment: You will analyse individually the strategic context of a recent M&A case study to provide an initial assessment of deal feasibility and advice whether further consideration of the deal should proceed.
  • Group assignment and presentation: The group assignment gives you the opportunity to apply your critical reasoning and analytical problem solving skills to a recent M&A case study, while building effective communication and group-work skills. Groups will ideally consist of 4-5 students (5 students at the maximum) and need to be formed by the end of week 4.
  • Each group will be required to prepare a Powerpoint slide deck and deliver as a group a 'pitch' as a video recording. All group members need to present, and time should be approximately equally allocated to each presenter.

    Full details of the deal and assignment requirements will be provided on Canvas.

  • Final exam: This is an online exam. All content from the semester is examinable. Further details for the final exam including practice questions will be available on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction and overview of the M&A market Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6
Week 02 Corporate finance and the agency model Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6 LO7
Week 03 Assessing M&A outcomes Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6 LO7
Week 04 Merger waves Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6 LO7
Week 05 Why, when and how do firms engage in M&A Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO7
Week 06 Deal valuation and synergies Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO4 LO6
Week 07 Form of payment I Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 08 Form of payment II Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 09 Corporate restructuring Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO6 LO7
Week 10 LBOs and go-private transactions Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 11 Hostile takeovers and defense tactics Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 12 Merger arbitrage Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 13 Shareholder activism Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6 LO7

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

See Canvas for weekly required reading list.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Analyse and discuss the strategic role of mergers and acquisitions to corporations in value creation
  • LO2. Evaluate how and why corporate restructuring activities are an important part of the efficient operations of financial markets
  • LO3. Examine particular forms of mergers and acquisitions to determine critical aspects of a deal, as well as provide a recommendation to a particular group of stakeholders
  • LO4. Measure and analyse the significance of control premium and synergies, identify and justify likely control premium and synergies in a given corporate M&A deal, and determine optimal deal structures. Assess the risks of M&A implementation
  • LO5. Understand various classes of risk management tools used in M&A and their advantages and weaknesses
  • LO6. Conduct research using archives, libraries, web-sourced data and other sources of information to produce timely and high-quality work
  • LO7. Communicate clearly and succinctly issues relating to M&A

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No major changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


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