Course code BUS335

BUS335 Corporate Strategy - Alliances, Mergers and Acquisitions

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Showing course contents for the educational year starting in 2020 .

Course responsible: Silja Marianna Korhonen-Sande
Teachers: Ketil Arvid Wig, Stig Aleksander Aune
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Autumn parallell. This course has teaching/ evaluation in Autumn parallel. 
Course frequency: Annually
First time: 2019H
Course contents:
Due to the complexity of customer demands and uncertainty in the market environment, successful strategy is increasingly realized through relationships with other organizations. Partnerships are also important to reach UN Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 17). This course provides a theoretical foundation for and assists the students in obtaining a skill set for developing and implementing corporate strategy through M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and alliances, with a particular focus on M&A. The structure of the course follows a decision making process related to these strategic choices, during which the students apply relevant research-based knowledge and methods for problem solving. The course is largely case-based, and the interdisciplinary nature of the strategic decisions is emphasized. The course aims at giving the students basic knowledge and a toolkit, which enables them to understand the M&A and alliances  from managers` and employees` perspectives, reflect on their own role and contribution in such processes from the perspective of their own specialization, and to seek an increasingly active role in executing M&A and alliances.
Learning outcome:


After completing the course, the participants have knowledge of

  • the decision making criteria for choosing between different strategic options (i.e.,  M&A, alliances, organic growth) based on the fundamental theoretical perspectives to M&A and alliances,
  • the different stages in the M&A and alliance processes, as well as the key decisions and the related decision making criteria within these stages,
  • the relevant methods and analytical approaches for producing information for decision making in M&A.


After completing the course, the participants are able to use the concepts, theoretical frameworks, methods, and advice from practitioners presented in this course to

  • evaluate the pros and cons of different strategic options contingent on the firm characteristics, its stakeholders and external environment,
  • describe the M&A and alliance process, identify the potential managerial pitfalls related to these processes and provide suggestions for avoiding them contingent on the participating organizations, their stakeholders and external environments,
  • conduct some of the necessary analyses, formulate and explain the managerial alternatives and tradeoffs, and present recommendations to ensure a successful execution of M&A.

General competence:

  • problem solving in groups
  • clear and effective presentation in a written and oral form
Learning activities:
Lectures, group assignments/ cases and related feedback, external guest lectures. Active participation is expected.
Teaching support:
The students will receive feedback in connection with the lectures and mandatory assignments. The students will receive feedback and other learning support in connection with the lectures, mandatory assignments, and other occassions specified at the beginning of the course.
The reading list for the course and instructions about the availability of the syllabus will be posted at Canvas before the course starts. Lecture notes (including guest lectures) are part of the syllabus.
Bachelor in business administration. This course is designed for the first-year students in M. Sc. in business administration.  NB! In this course, the students are expected to actively use the bachelor-level skills and knowledge in finance, accounting and strategy. It is assumed that the participants are able to read scientific articles, cases and other material in English, and both write and give presentations in English.
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
Two mandatory activities (passed/ not-passed) in groups and/ or individually. These activities may require active participation in the lectures (e.g., presentations/ workshops) and/ or written assignments. The instructions about the mandatory activities will be given at the course start. The students will be organized in groups at the beginning of the course. Active participation in the group work is compulsory to pass the course. Practical information about the group work (including deadlines for joining the groups) will be given at the start of the course when the number of participants is fixed. The mandatory assignments are valid only for one semester, i.e., if a student wishes to retake the course, the mandatory activities also need to be retaken.
Continuous exam: Mid-semester written exam (individual, 15% of the final grade), oral presentation of a case assignment (in groups, 30% of the final grade), final written exam (individual, 55% of the final grade). There is mandatory attendance at these three sub-tests. All the assessment components need to be passed in order to pass the course. When documenting valid absence in the mid-semester written exam, however, the final written examination will count 70% of the final grade. There will not be any retake exam in the course. Those that wish to take the course again must do so next time the course is arranged, including all the elements in the assessment.
Nominal workload:
300 hours.
Entrance requirements:
The course is for first years students in the Master Business and Administration program.
Reduction of credits:

2.5 ECTS with BUS313.

5.0 ECTS with BUS305.

Type of course:
3-6 hours per week. In addition group work related to mandatory activities and the examination.

The course is in English. Incoming students can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course.

Students from the master's program entrepreneurship and innovation with a bachelor's degree in economics and administration can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course.

An external examiner evaluates the syllabus and the assessment method
Allowed examination aids: B2 Calculator handed out, other aids as specified
Examination details: Langsgående vurdering: A - E / F