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New term for M&A market: acquihires

Eastern Europe’s chronic labor shortage is feeding into corporate takeover activity, with some companies making acquisitions to snap up skilled workers or obtain expertise needed to expand their businesses, news agency site reuters.com reports.

(Illustration by iQoncept/Shutterstock.com)

While the practice represents just a small part of the region’s mergers and acquisitions market, it underlines concerns about the deepening labor crunch at a time of buoyant economic activity, advisors and executives said, according to the Reuters report.

When Hungarian poultry firm Tranzit-Food bought chicken plants from sector rival Gastor, the availability of 550 qualified workers was among the foremost factors considered, the report cited chief executive Ákos Szabó as saying.

“Earlier, the key planks of a takeover were profitability, market share, branding, the stock of assets, the planned investments or the autonomy of management,” he added. “Now, we are screening the entire workforce, and this ranks higher than physical assets. We are willing to pay a premium for a well-trained workforce.”

Hugh Owen, a consultant specializing in M&A deals in Central and Southeast Europe, said the market has coined the term “acquihires” to describe takeover deals aimed at acquiring a team with specific expertise, reuters.com added.