This is the most traditional approach, and it is good so far as it goes. Certainly, it does pay respect to salient—even critical—data. But good numbers can mask weak talent. The acquired company may for all practical purposes have been a one-man show. There may be no backup. That in itself is bad enough, but it becomes even more critical if the front man happens to depart in the aftermath of the acquisition.

There are too many external biasing factors that deserve consideration for the parent company to simply assume that incumbents truly do deserve full credit for the current set of numbers. A quantitative analysis can be misleading in a variety of ways.

A Product of Good Times

A benevolent economy may deserve most of the credit for the acquired firm’s good financial performance. So the question that deserves thought is whether there is much proof that incumbents can manage a down economy or a post-merger situation successfully.

Short-Term Perspective ...