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Researching Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions

SEC Filings

When one public company plans a merger with another company, they are required by law to file with the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) and make details of their planned merger public. These details are published regardless of whether the merger takes place or not.

All merger information is available on SEC EDGAR in the following EDGAR forms:

Tender offers and acquisitions

SC 13D, SC 13E3, SC 13E4, SC 13G, SC 14D1, SC 14D9

Stock offerings resulting from a tender offer or other transactions

S-3, S-4

Corporate events


To get these filings, go to SEC EDGAR and do a Quick Forms Look-up. Change the form name from "ALL" to the appropriate form listed above and type your company's name in the appropriate box. Then press "Search." You can also search on "ALL" and scan through the list for the appropriate filings.

Note: EDGAR data is incomplete before 1996, and is archived only back to 1994.

Others sources of EDGAR filings and merger information are:

  • Zephyr: Search for M&A, IPO and venture capital deals globally going back to 1997.
  • Hoover's: SEC filings are attached to company profiles; merger information is contained in news/press releases.
  • Mergent Online: SEC filings and joint ventures are attached to company profiles; merger information is contained in "News."
  • Lexis/Nexis Academic: Click on the 'Business' module to find a link to "SEC Filings"; Search 'News' to retrieve articles on mergers and acquisitions.
  • Historical Annual Reports: Find ful PDF annual reports for over 800 companies going back to1844.

News/Trade Articles and Analyst Coverage

You may find details in the news by searching for the two company names in the following sources:

  • Lexis/Nexis Academic: Under "News" change the 'Sources' to "Business News Publications" and change your date range to reflect the time period when the merger happened, then continue keyword searching of your company name.
  • ProQuest Direct (ABI/Inform): Use "Advanced Search" and insert one company on separte search lines, then change the search type from "Citation & Abstract" to "Company/Org." To refine the search, type "merger" in the third search box.
  • Factiva: Keyword search company names combined with "(merg$ or acquisit$)" to retrieve articles.
  • Mint Global: Search the Companies module to retrieve profiles containing M&A activity, or the News module for articles.
  • Global Finance: Publishes a list of "Top Mergers & Acquisitions" monthly (keyword search "top mergers").
  • Investext: Search the 'Company' field for analyst reports on pre-merger and post-merger company coverage.
  • Global M&A: A free internet site with access to basic M&A activity globally.

For mergers prior to 1994 you may also check:

  • Predicast Index of Corporate Change (Business Reference HG4961.F24 V.8-24 1972-1993)

  • Directory of Obsolete Securities (Business Circulation Desk HG4961.D56 1997)

  • Mergerstat Review  (Business Reference and Grand Depository HD2741 .M487)

  • Cases in Corporate Acquisitions, Buyouts, Mergers & Takeovers  (Business Reference HD2746.5 .C374 1999)

  • Mergers, Acquisitions, and Corporate Restructurings  (Business Reference HD2746.5 G38 2002)

  • Mergers & Acqusitions (Business Periodical Stacks)

  • SDC Platinum (specialized software available all Marshall networked computers: search under 'Start Menu' - "All Programs" - "Teaching Applications" - "A-Z Lists"; also available through MyMarshall). Alliances and joint ventures are recorded as far back as 1979 for U.S. companies and 1985 for international mergers

Print Resources:

  • Keyword search "mergers and acquisitions" in HOMER to find related books in USC libraries
  • Mergers and Acquisitions (Business Reference HD2746.5 M45125 2008) a 3-volume set of core articles collated from leading journals 
  • Mergers & Acquisitions from A to Z / by Andrew J. Sherman and Milledge A. Hart (AMACOM, 2005; 2nd edition) USC network connection required through eBrary

When two private companies merge and form a private company, the details of the merger may be difficult to find.  In these cases, your best source will be news and trade articles.  Also look at Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures, a Business Reference Service Guide compiled by the Library of Congress that recommends resources on how to research M&A and joint venture activity.

Related Research:

If you are member of the USC community and have any further questions, please email Crocker Library or phone 213-740-8520.

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