New conglomerates


M&A in the USA has a long history. In late 1800, many monopolistic enterprises emerged by using the way of horizontal integration. Sherman Antitrust Act and Clayton Antitrust Act were enacted respectively in 1890 and 1914. After the antitrust acts were put into operation in 1950, the conglomerate type M&A was in vogue until 1980. However, this type of M&A caused many failure cases because management resources were dispersed and the operations of different business fields were very hard to control. So the strategic M&A has been popular since 1990 as a result of learning the past failures.


Amazon announced that it was buying a luxury grocery business Whole Foods for $13.4 billion on June 16. Some news reported that it tried to become a new conglomerate. Experts on M&A, as long as I know, say that it needs experience. Humans are greedy creature, so that they can’t stop the desire. If they didn’t learn the past M&A history and they didn’t have a clear vision for the future growth, they would pay big painful compensation.


The number of M&A in Japan has surged since 2008 when the global depression happened, and it reached 2,700 in 2015. The means of merger and acquisition is becoming popular in Japan. Some business persons including Nidec Corporation CEO Shigenobu Nagamori have managed the M&A means on the basis of the visions. However, many companies in Japan suffer M&A because they don’t learn the history and how to control it. I guess that Softbank is only Japanese company that can potentially become a conglomerate in the global business world.