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In a broad sense, an acquisition takes place when one corporation takes over controlling interest of another. An acquisition invariably results in a merger of two companies. When an acquisition occurs, the company that is being acquired is dubbed a target company. Although the term acquisition usually refers to a larger company consuming a smaller one, the outcome of an acquisition is always a formation of a single business entity from assets and liabilities of two separate units. An acquisition can come in a form of a friendly merger between two corporations. It may also come as a hostile takeover, in which the target company attempts to block the acquisition. By and large, acquisitions are sought to consolidate market influence within given industries, as well as to advance profit opportunities. In effect, a successful acquisition is determined by whether or not it has augmented the value of the acquiring company.

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