Of Mergers and Marriages

Of Mergers and Marriages

A marriage is like a merger.
Listen to our podcast and you'll find out the similarities between these two notions.


Written and voiced by Sophia Pelivanova

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Of Mergers and Marriages

One of the business English textbooks sets a task to the students to spot the similarities between a "merger" and a “marriage”. At first, the students shrug their shoulders in bewilderment and call it “nonsense”. However, encouraged by their teacher they get down to business. Surprisingly enough, they soon discover that there are similarities between these two notions, no matter how strange it may sound.

According to the definition provided by the same textbook “a merger is the creation of a new company by joining together two separate companies”.  The reasons to blend with another organization are very down-to-earth. First of all, mergers occur when the companies crave for synergy or united advantages, i.e. the possibilities that one company can share with the other one. Equipment, resources, experienced staff, customers, an established market niche etc. are the examples of those advantages.

The other important trigger to form a merger is a union for the sake of survival in the market. Two is better than one. Thus two companies, that have united, pose more threat to the rivals in the market and are more difficult to compete with.

The increase of the shareholder value is another good reason to form a merger.

At this point let's turn to the definition of a “marriage” provided by Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. “A marriage is the relationship between two people who are married”. Certainly, we can not deny that marriages are more likely to be built on love than on a desire to be more competitive. However, there are things common between a marriage and a merger. In a marriage just like in a merger two parties are looking for a "perfect match". Good looks, decent reputation, perspectives, even more wealth are here to play their role. And, of course, we shouldn't forget about arranged marriages that resemble a merger even more. In an arranged marriage the families (read CEOs, the board of directors, or shareholders) wed (read merge) their offspring (read companies) in order to strengthen the ties between the families and insure them against the evils of the outside world (read the other competitors in the market).

The synergy is created – common children are born. The resources are shared – a husband and a wife join together their property. Two companies blend together their finances – the spouses set a family budget.

And there is more to that. Before merging or getting married the two parties compare the other side's advantages, if necessary holding “a beauty contest” among the would-be life or business companions. Then they certainly experience excitement and euphoria before the BIG DAY. Many couples draw up a prenuptial agreement, just like companies draw up a contract. In both cases the signatures seal the decisions on paper, thus announcing the birth of a new family or a new company.

Of course, we can dwell upon the difficulties awaiting newly- wed companies and couples. Doubts, disappointment, anger, misunderstandings, dissatisfaction all of these accompany any normal union at one or another point of its co-existence. However, there is absolutely nothing strange about it. That's the way things have always been. Moreover, having overcome all the difficulties and challenges the union gets stronger, people grow fond of each other, and their future becomes even more definite and prosperous.    

To sum up, we can only say that all aspects of our life long for harmony, be it harmony in a marriage or in a business union. A merger or a marriage are built on common interests, similar goals, respect to the partner and it is always a plus if all of it is sprinkled with a tiny bit of love.



  • a merger – the creation of a new company by joining together two separate companies
  • to shrug shoulders – to raise and then lower your shoulders in order to show that you do not know something or do not care about something
  • bewilderment – a feeling of being very confused
  • to get down to business – to turn to the things that need to be done or discussed
  • down-to-earth – practical and direct in a sensible and honest way
  • a market niche – an opportunity to sell a product or service to a particular group of people who have similar needs, interests etc.
  • to pose threat – to cause a problem, danger, difficulty etc.
  • a rival – a person, group or organization that you compete with in sport, business, a fight etc.
  • a shareholder value – the price of stocks (shares) in a public company
  • competitive – determined or trying very hard to be more successful than other people or businesses
  • a "perfect match" – somebody or something that entirely suits your needs and meets your expectations
  • decent – of a good enough standard or quality
  • an arranged marriage – a marriage in which your parents choose a husband or wife for you
  • to resemble – to look like or be similar to someone or something
  • offspring – someone's child or children (often used humorously)
  • to wed – to marry
  • to insure sb against sb/sth – to protect yourself against the risk of something bad happening by planning or preparing
  • a spouse – a husband or wife
  • would-be – someone who hopes to do a particular job or intends to do a particular thing
  • euphoria – an extremely strong feeling of happiness and excitement which usually only lasts for a short time
  • a prenuptial agreement – a legal document that is written before a man and a woman get married, in which they agree things such as how much money each will get if they divorce
  • to draw up – to prepare a written document such as a list or contract
  • to dwell upon – to discuss, talk things over
  • prosperous – wealthy and successful
  • to be sprinkled with – to be decorated with