You may be surprised that historically, most acquisitions and alliances fail. Acquisitions, on average, either destroy or don’t add shareholder value, and alliances typically create very little wealth for shareholders. This article suggests that executives analyze three sets of factors before deciding on a collaboration strategy: the resources and synergies they desire, the marketplace they compete in, and their competencies at collaborating. Of course, companies must develop the ability to execute both acquisitions and alliances if they want to grow. Knowing when to use which strategy may be a greater source of competitive advantage than knowing how to execute them. One of the most interesting aspects of this article explores various synergies that can be achieved by combining and customizing resources differently—and this year presents an excellent opportunity to evaluate them.

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