Excerpt From Article

Back in the old days, many deals were pure “financial plays.” Today, to a much larger degree, deal success depends on good integration management. The new game mandates operational effectiveness. So growth via mergers and acquisitions becomes a winning proposition only if the companies can be consolidated successfully. And only if the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts. Or faster. Or cheaper. Or reaches more customers. Financial gains are still the final target, of course, but they aren’t achieved when the deal is cut. Unlike in times past, today’s acquirers don’t simply strip away assets and maximize shareholder value in short order. Current mergers are looked at as longer-term challenges.
 
Another difference—corporate marriages used to involve more diverse companies. Acquirers more frequently bought into different industries. Sometimes this was done to smooth out cyclical bumps, to diversify, the hope being that it would hedge an investment portfolio. Companies bought what they didn’t know. And what you don’t know, they learned, can kill you ...