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Unit information: The Law and Policy of Mergers and Acquisitions in 2018/19

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Unit name The Law and Policy of Mergers and Acquisitions
Unit code LAWDM0125
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Georgina Tsagas
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will explore the legal rules in the UK, USA and the EU which govern the market for corporate control and key aspects of certain corporate restructurings. The unit aims to examine the legal framework that governs takeovers across jurisdictions and study the policy and political background to the legal frameworks examined. The unit also provides for an examination of a series of key acquisition transactions that have taken place in the 21st century.

Unit aims

This module offers a unique combination of the regulation of takeovers and mergers in three different jurisdictions. It allows for an appreciation of the policy background to the laws in place, as well as an appreciation of the law in action by addressing key case studies. This unit challenges students to critically engage with fundamental theoretical, policy and practical approaches to regulating mergers and acquisitions in diverse socio-economic contexts. Using case study examples from the UK, the EU and the USA, it seeks to assess and compare a set of cross-jurisdictional legal frameworks regulating these transactions, whilst also drawing on contemporary conceptual and practical debates.

Unit Outline

The unit will provide a study of law with elements of economics, sociolegal studies and political economy. The topics covered in this unit will include, among others: the theoretical background on the market for corporate control, basic control transactions, UK takeover regulation (the Takeover Panel, the Takeover Process and recent developments), the role of the target board, US Takeover regulation, the market for corporate control in the banking sector, EU Takeover Regulation and employees’ position within the corporate restricting process.

Intended learning outcomes

On the completion of this unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • concrete knowledge and systematic understanding of the laws governing control transactions in the UK and at EU level
  • understanding of policy issues surrounding the design and reform of the legal framework governing mergers and acquisitions in key jurisdictions
  • critical assessment of concepts related to mergers and acquisitions arguing from competing perspectives and paying particular attention to contemporary issues
  • ability to deal with practical issues in the area of mergers and acquisitions, to interpret, critically evaluate and re-express these in given practical situations with appropriate critical comment

Teaching details

The contact hours for this unit will be 30 hours. This will usually take the form of: 8 lectures, 10 two-hour seminars and 2 assessment preparation and feedback sessions.

Assessment Details

Summative: 2 x 3000 word essays (50% each). Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

Reading and References

The main textbooks for this module are:

Legislation/Online Sources: