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Acquisitions of Startups by Incumbents: The 3 Cs of Co-Specialization from Startup Inception to Post-Merger Integration

by Nir N. Brueller and Laurence Capron

Acquisitions of Startups by Incumbents: The 3 Cs of Co-Specialization from Startup Inception to Post-Merger Integration
What does a successful startup acquisition entail?
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Facing constant pressures to grow, established firms increasingly harness external innovation by collaborating with and eventually acquiring startups. To succeed in their exit through acquisition, startup firms and incumbents have to master three steps (the “3 Cs”) that enhance the co-specialization with the acquirer: establishing the Complementarity of offerings, generating Customer endorsement, and attracting an acquirer executive Champion. Drawing on a multiple-case, inductive study of seven Israeli startup acquisitions completed by two acquirers from the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, this article illustrates the different approaches pursued by the startup firms and their acquirers to succeed in managing pre- and post-acquisition processes.




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