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Mergers and acquisitions in the insurance sector: reducing information asymmetry

Alan Fustec (Ecole Supérieure de Développement Economique et Social, Lyon, France, Goodwill‐Management, Paris, France, and Observatoire de l'immatériel, Paris, France)
Tanguy Faroult (Groupama, Paris, France)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 25 October 2011




According to several authors 50 per cent of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) operations destroy value. The aim of this paper is to study the reasons why it happens and to seek to reveal that intangible assets, which are increasingly important in today's economy, must be better assessed during the due diligence phase.


The authors present a part of the French intangible assets measurement approach, which has been published by the French Intangible Assets Observatory. The methodology proposes an extended balance sheet which is an interesting addition to the IAS‐IFRS intangible standard. It identifies 12 classes of intangible assets including human capital and customer capital.


The paper proposes a due diligence approach, using the French methodology and applies it to the insurance sector.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is not an academic paper. However, a significant research program is now underway in France. Academic publications are expected to be submitted.

Practical implications

The practice of intangible due diligence is a key issue in today's increasingly intangible economy. This practice is on the verge of a very strong development.


The paper presents a systemic approach to intangible assets. It answers a key question: what are the main assets that are necessary to start and continue a process of value creation? Accounting only recognizes the intangible assets that are not overly volatile, for prudential reasons. But even if customers or teams are “too intangible” for accountants, they are required to generate cash flows. If they are not evaluated, the process of wealth creation is not under control. This is crucial in M&A.



Fustec, A. and Faroult, T. (2011), "Mergers and acquisitions in the insurance sector: reducing information asymmetry", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 495-504.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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