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LAW8155 : Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sarah Morley
  • Lecturer: Dr David Reader
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The course aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to mergers and acquisitions in the United Kingdom, including the forms of mergers, bid procedures, strategy, and economic and regulatory issues, including protection of minority shareholders. The course will also offer the students a comparative insight in to the different M&A practices in the US.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course will consider different forms of mergers: which includes understanding different deal structures in the UK (takeover offers and schemes of arrangements), the difference between friendly and hostile takeovers, the treatment of joint ventures and understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms. The economic impacts of takeover activity will also be considered: which includes creating, destroying and distributing value through takeovers and the effect of mergers on competitive markets and consumers.

The module will ensure students develop knowledge of the foundations of UK takeover and merger control regulation: Takeover Code (general principles and rules), Takeover Panel, Companies Act, Financial Services and Markets Act, and appropriate securities regulation and, in the context of merger control, the Enterprise Act regime enforced by the Competition and Markets Authority. This will also include an evaluation of the historical development of UK M&A regulation in order to understand important policy decisions, such as the adoption of shareholder primacy in takeover rules and the competition-based approach to merger control.

The important rules relating to bid procedure will also be covered: to include offers, announcements, mandatory bid procedure, “put up or shut up” rules, disclosure, timetables and deal completion. The course will offer a brief comparative study with US: comparing forms of mergers and takeover regulation and litigation practices. This will give the students a deeper understanding of UK regulation and policy. It will also give an excellent basis for the theoretical discussions surrounding discretion of directors, takeover defences, and options for reform.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion601:0060:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities80:152:00MCQs used to provide formative feedback on student understanding of factual content
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00In person classes (Flex – could be moved to synchronous online).
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00FLEX can be done online
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1041:00104:00Own reading and revision of substantive module content, combined with directed readings
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture content will be provided in the form of four hour-long non-synchronous blocks of material, providing students with information regarding key issues in M&A. Small group teaching has been determined to be the most effective mode of in-person content delivery for PGT students.

The scheduled online Q&As allow for students to ‘drop in’ and ask questions concerning course content, and the MCQ activities provide students with instantaneous formative feedback on their understanding of substantive factual course content.

The teaching methods have been adapted for delivery in the post-COVID environment and are based on the presumption that in-person sessions will be possible but that this needs to be supplemented by making alternative arrangements under ‘FLEX’ in case of limited scope for on Campus teaching.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1003000 word essay
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MFormative support is provided through MCQ-based assessment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative coursework assess the students’ knowledge and understanding of the course by answering a complex question. The students will also apply the skills that they will have developed over the whole course. The coursework tests the students' ability to develop and demonstrate research skill, including dissemination of materials. The students will also undertake critical analysis and present a coherent argument to the question using supporting arguments, which will include the use of legal instruments and academic commentary. It also allows students to demonstrate intended learning outcomes across a broad range of topics within the syllabus.

Formative support is provided through MCQ-based assessment during the module, which will provide instantaneous feedback to students regarding their progress.

Reading Lists