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Masters (MSc) in Finance

Learn the finance essentials; from derivatives and investments, to mergers and acquisitions and global markets.

This master's in finance enables you to work with our award-winning finance experts to build in-demand quantitative skills. You will gain the essential information needed to pursue a range of exciting finance careers at an international level.

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This course is ranked 7th in the UK and 22nd globally (QS Business Masters Rankings 2019)

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The MSc Finance course has both CFA Institute Affiliate status and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) status which positions you to progress to a research degree. It is also linked to The Manchester Accounting and Finance Group – one of the leading accounting and finance units in Europe.

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MSc Finance / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
Mergers & Acquisitions: Economic & Financial

Unit code BMAN70432
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No


The course unit aims to provide an introduction to mergers and acquisitions concentrating specifically on the economic and financial aspects of the topic. By the end, you should have gained a good understanding of their form, motivation and the determinants of their success as well as the policy issues surrounding them. The course unit is not intended to be a “how to” course but is rather a wide ranging analysis of the phenomenon of takeovers examining the purpose they serve, what drives them and what lessons can be learnt from both a private corporate perspective and a public policy angle.

We assume no prior knowledge of M&A starting from a basic level with the first lectures setting the framework by examining a historical overview of mergers and acquisitions globally but then moving on to an examination of theories to explain their patterns and nature. A detailed examination is made of their motivation before we move on to the variety of constraints that limit companies actions in pursuing deals. Finally an examination of the issues surrounding a market for corporate control draws from the literature on corporate governance. Each lecture builds on knowledge from previous ones so that by the end the student should have gained a critical perspective to examine real world deals.

There is no coursework assignment as the course unit is assessed 100% by examination. However recognising that students need formative feedback on their progress there is the option to submit an essay (based on those likely to be set in the examination) which will be marked but carries no credit.

The exam takes place after Easter and covers the material discussed in the lectures. Students who revise the lecture material should have no problem in passing it but further reading is obviously expected for higher marks.



BMAN70432 Programme Req: BMAN70432 is only available as an elective to students on MSc A&F and MSc Finance


The course unit aims to provide students with a conceptual framework that will help in the understanding of mergers and acquisitions. The perspective it adopts draws from a number of traditions but is primarily concerned with the economic and financial analysis of M&A, at both a domestic and increasingly at an international level. Using these, the course investigates how the basic principles arising from an extensive theoretical tradition can give meaning to a raft of empirical findings about the phenomenon. Although its main emphasis is on the conceptual and empirical perspectives, it seeks to provide an introduction to the practical aspects of company amalgamation. This is achieved from both a private, corporate perspective as well as from a public policy angle.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will have an understanding of:

  • the various motivations for M&A
  • the forms they may take
  • the constraints on activity
  • the success of mergers and their determinants
  • policy issues surrounding M&A.

Assessment methods

Written Examination (100%)

Feedback methods

Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar, workshop or lab.

Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum.

Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework.

Recommended reading

The course does not follow one text but it is recommended that the student purchase at least one of the major texts to provide a suitable introduction to the specialist topics. The differences will be more fully outlined in the first lecture. The second part of the list is made up of supplementary reading for each topic comprising journal articles, book chapters etc which are deemed essential for a more complete understanding of the area.

Major Texts

S. Sudarsanam (2010)      Creating Value from Mergers and Acquisitions. Prentice-Hall. Second edition

J. F. Weston et al (2013) Takeovers, Restructuring and Corporate Governance. Fourth Edition Prentice-Hall

M.A. Hitt et al (2001)       Mergers and Acquisitions. Oxford University Press

S. Sudarsanam (1995)      The Essence of Mergers and Acquisitions. Prentice-Hall.



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 128

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Paul Simpson Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Informal Contact Method

Office Hours

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Lala Jafarli, Azerbaijan, MSc Finance student

"Alliance MBS provides the opportunity to meet experts from your field of interest. You feel secure around the friendly environment and consistently feel the support of everybody. This year I lived everything to a maximum level; having fun with international friends and studying really hard. In a word, I would say that it was amazing!"

Lala Jafarli, Azerbaijan

MSc Finance, Class of 2015


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