Are big mergers really worth it? After this week’s merger implosion news by Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), 24/7 Wall St. wanted to review and analyze many of the really bad mergers of recent years, from before and after the Great Recession, to look for patterns and to see what could be learned from some of the worst mergers. Many websites have scored the AOL-Time Warner merger as one of the worst ever. But now the empire has been split up, and there are many other sinners who have generated significant losses for their shareholders.
HP’s acquisition of software company Autonomy created an $8.8 billion charge due to supposed accounting improprieties. Now HP has just one more notch in its bedpost of bad deals, after you tally up the likes of 3Com, Palm, EDS and Compaq. While HP shareholders should ban the company from ever making another acquisition, there are many other M&A sinners from the past five to 10 years.
The list of awful mergers offers keen insight into not marrying troubled assets and avoiding difficult integrations. This is not just a lesson in technology mergers. For our analysis, we screened out many questionable mergers and acquisitions that made little sense or have yet to pay off, if the share price has not suffered. That leaves deals like Medco, XTO, Sun Microsystems, Cadbury and many other financial mergers off the list for now.
Here are 10 of the worst large mergers of the past decade.