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Tens of hundreds of M&A transactions are carried out globally each year and but just a few dozen attain any media coverage.

What about the rest?

Well, a large proportion of these offers are both tuck-in or bolt-on acquisitions. These are smaller deals which are much less attention-grabbing than the so-known as mega-deals. Unlike a lot of the bigger offers, they’re also often price accretive. In this article, we look at tuck-in and bolt-on acquisitions and the value that they can provide for corporations which are always active in M&A.


A bolt-on acquisition is the term used for when a bigger company acquires a extensively smaller company with a strategic reason. The strategic purpose here is important because despite the fact that bolt-on acquisitions are usually cash-flow generative, their profits is usually small enough relative to the acquirer that it’s now not the main reason for the acquisition


Private equity companies commonly employ bolt-on acquisitions to add value to their portfolio businesses before disposing them of. These are generally synergistic and might add some or all of:

new consumers,

new geographies

or attractive intellectual property to the acquirer.

Why a Bolt-on Acquisition

Bolt-on acquisitions tend to have all of the same motivations as larger M&A transactions, amongst them an multiplied services or products portfolio, an extended geographic footprint, more desirable technological capabilities and extra.

The most important distinction with a bolt-on acquisition is that, being smaller, there tends to be much less danger worried within the transaction.

And the cumulative effect of making numerous bolt-on acquisitions can allow a corporation to develop at velocity in a noticeably brief period of time.


Tuck-in acquisitions are in large part the same as bolt-on acquisitions with the primary exception being that the smaller enterprise is completely absorbed into the client: while many bolt-on acquisitions may also hold their names and identities, a tuck-in acquisition loses its company identity and structure to come to be an indistinguishable a part of the bigger company.

Can a Smaller Company Buy a Larger Company?

There is not anything to stop a smaller business enterprise acquiring a bigger organization if it has sufficient funds or an appealing sufficient shape to convince the bigger agency’s shareholders to sell out. This is normally achieved through leverage or with deferred stocks. A correct example can be visible in the acquisition of Land Rover Jaguar with the aid of Tata Motors, a small enormously unknown automotive logo (outside of India, as a minimum) taking over an auto industry stalwart.

Example of Bolt-on and Tuck-in Acquisition

To better recognize the distinction that exists between a bolt-on and a tuck-in acquisition, it’s profitable to observe such deals, each undertaken by means of the equal corporation: Facebook.

Facebook has made dozens of tuck-in acquisitions, all of which have been ‘shut down’ quickly after the acquisition turned into made. An example turned into TheFind.Com, an internet shopping discovery platform. Facebook acquired it in early 2015, earlier than shutting it rapidly afterwards. In 2016, Facebook launched Facebook Marketplace: TheFind were tucked in.

But there are also some examples of Facebook acquiring bolt-on acquisitions.

The most well-known example might be Instagram, which it obtained in 2021 for $1 billion. Unlike the example of TheFind.Com, Instagram maintains its original identity and can be construed as a completely independent business enterprise, making it a bolt-on acquisition.


The foremost advantage of each forms of acquisitions mentioned is they may be idea of as small, noticeably low-risk additions to a bigger organization. Over time, the compounding effect of adding so many value-generating assets is that the acquirer’s value need to have grown significantly. Other advantages consist of:

  • It’s normally easier to integrate smaller organizations than larger ones
  • There’s a larger universe of smaller corporations to pick from
  • Smaller businesses are frequently cheaper, no longer just in absolute phrases, but in terms of multiples (i.E. Rate to EBITDA) making them greater accretive to value
  • These acquisitions offer a fast way to allow a company to grow geographically


The risks for each tuck-in and bolt-on acquisitions are largely similar to those for any acquisition, albeit typically on a smaller scale.

Although their names advocate that these varieties of acquisitions can clearly be added onto a company with no shape of integration, that isn’t the case. And likewise, smaller length doesn’t avert the requirement for substantial due diligence.

All that stated, the dangers of tuck-in acquisitions are:

  • Losing the business enterprise’s inner identification, logo cognizance and purchaser loyalty.
  • Loss of any promote-on capacity for the purchase.
  • Inability to test progress of acquisition ‘misplaced’ in the larger corporate entity.

The risks of bolt-on acquisitions are:

  • The organisation risks losing cognizance by using slowly becoming a conglomerate.
  • Managers struggle with understanding what need to and shouldn’t be included.
  • Sales of the bolt-on acquisition can be cannibalizing those of the larger corporate entity.


Bolt-on and tuck-in acquisitions offer a validated method for companies to add fee over a longer time frame. Although many seem insignificant on the time of acquisition – especially in phrases of their financial results – the continuing addition of their resources and talents permits the client to grow at a rate above and beyond what would be feasible organically. It should be no surprise then, that both are strategies which have been employed by most of the world’s biggest corporations at some point of time in their history.

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