business model change; corporate communication; performance measurement; discourse analysis: comparative case study; Denmark; mergers and acquisitions.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the link between external business model communication and financial performance for ten cross-national acquisitions by Danish companies.
Methodology: We tie stakeholder and shareholder theory to Magretta’s (2002) model, which capture a holistic approach to the analysis of newsletters and financial data. We further apply Fairclough’s (1992) critical discourse analysis and regression analyses to analyze the communication process and the accounting data after the acquisition, respectively.
Findings: The study identifies a lack of business model communication in an acquisition process. Furthermore, our analyses show that 15 years after the acquisitions, the acquirers have generally not established substantial links between their own business models and the business models of the acquired companies. As to the quantitative analyses, above average narrative communication has a weak link to company performance. Antecedents of good communication are the number of stakeholders that have to be addressed, as well as the anticipated disruptive events after the acquisition.
Research limitations: The analytically indicated links between external communication and financial performance have limitations due to a small sample and due to the complex organizational set-up where the acquired organizations’ financial performance is quickly absorbed into the parent company.
Originality: This study is novel in its approach of applying a longitudinal qualitative as well as quantitative approach to business model identification in mergers and acquisitions. Furthermore, it provides linkages and discussions of business model conceptualization with stakeholder and shareholder theories.