EDBA Graduate Applies Innovative Research Methods to Mergers and Acquisitions Study

Dr. Eduardo Vinocur, an expert in the fields of strategic management and mergers and acquisitions, finds an interesting link between strategic management and the success of mergers and acquisitions.

Every year, hundreds of companies are involved in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A’s).

Some of them have been particularly significant, including Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, Google’s acquisition of Android and Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram.

Mergers and Acquisitions, by definition, is the process of corporations pursuing other companies as a part of their growth strategy.

When researching M&A’s, Dr. Eduardo Vinocur noticed some companies are acquiring other companies, but still losing money in the long-term.

He wanted to find out why.

During his DBA program, he started digging deeper, looking at the long-term revenue performance of companies that are acquiring multiple companies, called serial acquirers.

A light switch went off for Vinocur, who had spent the majority of his career working in strategic management, or the tasks of analyzing the competitive environment, setting objectives, evaluating strategies, and rolling out those strategies across an organization.

Vinocur used his strategic managment experience to start researching a link he theorized: strong strategic management leads to successful acquisitions.

“That’s when I got the link with strategic management. When companies manage the M&A process well, the acquisition will be successful,” said Vinocur.

In Dr. Vinocur’s dissertation, M&A Capability and Long-Term Firm Performance: A Strategic Management Perspective, Vinocur hypothesized that there is a positive influence of M&A capability on the long-term performance of a firm.

Because M&A is highly quantitative-driven, most of the data companies look at are just on the basic quantitative side; companies are not typically looking at anything qualitative, like operation effectiveness, business strategy, and the M&A capability.

In layman’s terms, most studies on M&A performance are looking at the easily accessible quantitative data, but they aren’t going deeper to find meaning behind the numbers.

“I started doing very deep research on how to do a mixed-method study, combining quantitative and qualitative frameworks to analyze M&A capabilities,” said Dr. Vinocur.

He eventually came across the process of text mining, pulling key words and phrases from a large amount of text, and then transforming the qualitative data into something quantitative.

Dr. Vinocur used the text mining process on over 560 annual reports and 2,600 M&A synopses.

Using this approach, Vinocur was able to test his models on a sample of 141 firms to assess a potential relationship between strategic management and M&A capability.

The main result of his study was finding a significant positive relationship between M&A capability and the long-term performance of serial acquirers successfully vindicating his hypothesis.

His study shows that companies that do engage in multiple acquisitions can perform better in the long-term by focusing on their strategic management processes.

Research Background

Dr. Eduardo Vinocur spent most of his professional life in strategic management without even realizing it.

It wasn’t until a strategic management class with Dr. Greg Marshall that Vinocur started to find the academic parallels to what he had been doing throughout his career.

“I told Dr. Marshall, [he] put a name on the activity I had been doing all my life,” said Vinocur.

It was in 1998 when he was invited to work for his wife’s family company that he got his opportunity to apply his former knowledge in product management and process engineering in a new setting that was prone to deep improvements and changes.

“My life from 1998 to 2008 was this. Going process-by-process, capability-by-capability to restructure this entire company,” said Vinocur.

Vinocur, working his way up to a vice president position, strategically guided the company to become attractive enough for an acquisition and eventually a lucrative exit in 2008.

He had gained invaluable experience that eventually manifested into his appetite for academia and research.

“This experience was all strategic management—seeing the company from above, performance frameworks, and all those leadership processes,” said Vinocur.

The idea to merge different disciplines arose during the M&A seminar with Dr. Kiymaz, when Dr. Vinocur explored the M&A management process, a capability in which he had been involved in different occasions during his professional practice. Dr. Kiymaz praised Dr. Vinocur’s paper on M&A process which encouraged him to develop the idea further.

Dr. Vinocur highlighted the importance of his dissertation Committee, Dr. Kiymaz, Dr. Loughry, and his reader, Dr. Simsek, for their unique contributions and support during the dissertation process.

“It is a team work, and the candidate must listen and learn the most possible from the committee members. It is during the dissertation phase that we really become a Dr., and the Committee is essential for that,” he said.

Dr. Vinocur, born and raised in Brazil, is a mechanical engineer, having earned an MBA and a Master’s degree in strategic marketing prior to the completion of his DBA from Crummer. His corporate work experience includes major companies like Black & Decker, Iochpe-Maxion, and General Motors.

Upon arriving in the United States in 2014, he heard about the first Executive Doctorate in Business Administration program in Florida at Crummer. His meetings with the faculty sold him on pursuing his DBA, and eventually, he started linking his executive experience to his studies.

It was in classes like Dr. Kiymaz’s M&A and Dr. Marshall’s strategic management where he felt validation from academia on his career experience, and he decided to take an innovative research approach to his life’s work for his dissertation.

Further Takeaways

To the best of his knowledge, Dr. Vinocur was the first academic, at the time of his study, to research M&A capabilities by using a mixed-method study.

His text mining process, while very effective, is a basic technology when you start comparing it to the level of artificial intelligence often practiced today which leverages big data to quantify large amounts of qualitative data.

“Think about what Google, Amazon and Microsoft are able to do with artificial intelligence,” he says.

Dr. Vinocur says was just scratching the surface showing real data on the importance of strategic management when it comes to M&A.

He’s excited to see where the research community can go in the future with.

“The tools available in artificial intelligence will change research forever,” said Vinocur.