|While currently experiencing an all-time high acquisition wave, the acquisition
literature is still ambiguous regarding acquisition outcomes and performance.
Recently, serial acquirers and their acquisition capabilities have gained increased
attention in the literature, and this thesis looks at the rather new phenomenon of M& A functions in serial acquirers. The purpose was to get a better understanding of this new phenomenon through its configuration and roles, and thus enhancing
the knowledge about acquisition capabilities of serial acquirers.
We conducted a qualitative interview study, interviewing eight Norwegian serial acquirers. This inductive approach, gave us an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon and contributes to a rather limited literature on M & A functions. We
found that the configuration of M & A functions in serial acquirers varies in regards to the size of the company, number of employees, reporting, and the organizational location. We unveiled three types of M & A functions, namely large corporate functions, one-man bands and business unit functions. Additionally, we found that there were two types of employees in M & A functions: the all-rounder
and the specialist. We further identified four important roles the M & A function plays in serial acquirers: 1) as project managers in acquisitions, 2) as knowledge managers, herein maintaining acquisition capabilities and fostering learning, 3)
acting as a clearing house for internal and external leads and lastly, 4) being objective mediators to reduce unrelated acquisitions. In conclusion, our research contributes to the acquisition literature by describing how M & A functions can help academics, and practitioners understand how to develop acquisition capability and what it constitutes. In essence, these findings add on to recent literature with a practical, micro-level approach, hence helping to open the “black box” of acquisition capability. For practitioners, we emphasize the importance of having an all-rounder with a considerable amount of acquisition experience and internal network to drive the acquisition process.