Industry consolidation as a strategy: An acquisition program perspective

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The consolidation of industry assets develops through multiple company mergers, and it is critical for firms to manage their business acquisitions strategically for survival in this industry life cycle process. The companies extensively acquiring industry assets have utilized acquisition programs consisting of both pre-acquisition strategizing and post-acquisition integration, however the existing literature on acquisition programs focuses on post-acquisition integration activities. We focus on pre-acquisition strategizing of acquisition programs, and we propose a model in which an acquiring company could manage its acquisitions for industry asset consolidation over the industry evolution. Empirically, in our multi-case study of telecommunications infrastructure companies, we collect an extensive set of archival records accumulated over the whole industry life-cycle, spanning more than 30 years, and we apply a qualitative data analysis to reveal strategic actions within the companies. The discoveries elaborate on activities comprising the acquisition process model: social legitimacy, strategic alignment, resource fulfillment, consolidation pursuit, and merging. The counterintuitive findings are that the companies strived to ensure legitimacy early on the telecommunication infrastructure markets before they reached strategic alignment with their owners. The results extend the understanding of industry asset consolidation as an organization-level phenomenon, and show how contextual factors connected to industry life-cycle phases, such as regulatory regimes and financial cycles and industry evolution, influence the attributions of an acquisition program.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberJSMA-10-2022-0178
Number of pages24
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • market consolidation
  • industry asset consolidation
  • acquisition program
  • business acquisition
  • horizontal integration


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