The One Question That Matters in Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn

Most acquisitions don’t work out.

“M&A is a mug’s game,” Roger Martin writes in the June issue of HBR, “in which typically 70%–90% of acquisitions are abysmal failures.”

Is there any reason to think Microsoft’s $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, announced this morning, will beat the odds?

It’s hard to know, but Martin’s article offers a simple rule of thumb: “Companies that focus on what they are going to get from an acquisition are less likely to succeed than those...

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