Serial dealmakers are doing something right―and it’s translating beyond mergers and acquisitions (M&A) excellence into their overall business performance.

Accenture Strategy analysis shows that the average acquisitive company completed four acquisitions between 2015 and the first quarter of 2021. The 30 most acquisitive firms made 42 deals on average in the same period. These serial dealmakers outperformed less frequent acquirers, on average, when we analyzed their weighted total shareholder return (TSR).

Serial dealmakers outperformed less frequent acquirers as measured through weighted TSR


North America




Asia Pacific

The same applied to the majority of industry groups, analyzed at the global level

Analysis of weighted total shareholder return

We believe part of the reason for the success of serial dealmakers is that the more a company flexes its M&A muscle, the better it becomes at incorporating best practices and institutionalizing M&A excellence. As serial dealmakers do what they do, they are essentially creating an “M&A factory.”

What do serial dealmakers get right?

Successful serial dealmakers show great skill in three main areas: vision, operating model and execution. While these are areas every company involved in M&A delves into, it’s how the most successful companies navigate them that produces better results.


A clear M&A vision illuminates the path

Successful serial dealmakers begin with the end in mind. They have a long-term vision that goes beyond industry barriers and helps them identify the right targets, which is shared across the C-suite. Think Apple, whose M&A strategy of acquiring small innovators who complement their products is in line with company’s long-term strategy.

Operating model

A superior M&A operating model clears the path

Serial dealmakers develop an M&A operating model. Without making it overly complex, they use it to be in a continuous ready state for acquisitions and separations. This is how a large electronics company transformed itself into a global health technology leader.


Experienced M&A execution speeds you on the path

The companies we analyzed create the right M&A outcomes with stellar execution, from overseeing integration for multiple years after a deal to using technology to speed synergies. Accenture is one of the most acquisitive companies in the world and we utilized a strong M&A framework to build our M&A engine.

Want specifics? We’ve got them.

Remember: M&A has truly become a business muscle, one that becomes stronger the more often it is used. The more companies treat it as an essential component of corporate success, instead of as a rare specialty, the faster they can move to make their business strategy come alive.

To find out more about specific actions in each of the three major areas of excellence, with further detail on companies that are doing it right, download our full report.

About the Authors

Gregg Albert

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions

Felix Hessel

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions

Sven Wahle

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Europe Lead

Eric Weiss

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions

Ziad Abi-Ghannam

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions


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