Partial Utilitarianism as a suggested ethical framework for evaluating corporate mergers and acquisitions

Business Ethics 19 (4):363-378 (2010)
Prior literature on ethical concerns in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) has often concluded that many stakeholders, such as workers and communities, have unjustly suffered as a result of takeovers and associated defences and that their rights as stakeholders have been violated. However, very few papers provide any guidance on how to evaluate a merger or acquisition from an ethical standpoint. This study looks at how ethical frameworks could be used to assess the ethical impact of a merger or acquisition and gives practical guidance. It is proposed that decision makers should consider the impact on four stakeholder groups: shareholders, employees, customers and directors. We call the proposed method for doing this Partial Utilitarian analysis. We suggest two possible ways of applying the Partial Utilitarian analysis. One approach could rely on the evidence from a sample of recent deals. For this, empirical analysis is conducted on a sample of large M&As in the United Kingdom in the period 1993–2003. Alternatively, a better approach, requiring considerable management time, requires forecasting of the economic impact on the four groups of stakeholders. The paper shows how to do this
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8608.2010.01599.x
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Thomas M. Garrett (1966). Business Ethics. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts.

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Vincent Norcia (1988). Mergers, Takeovers, and a Property Ethic. Journal of Business Ethics 7 (1-2):109 - 116.

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