Acquisition Financing: The Definition and How It Works


Key Takeaways:

  • Acquisition financing is a type of funding used by companies to acquire other companies or assets. It can be achieved through equity financing or debt financing, or a combination of both.
  • Equity financing involves selling shares of a company to investors in exchange for capital. Debt financing involves borrowing money from financial institutions, with the promise to repay the loan plus interest over time.
  • The types of acquisition financing include asset-based lending, cash flow financing, mezzanine financing, and term loans. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and companies should carefully consider their options before choosing a financing method.

Do you need capital to scale up your business operations? Acquisition financing is a viable option to consider. Providing essential information on what acquisition financing is and how it works, this article will help you understand the different kinds of acquisition financing and decide how it can best help you in your business goals.

What is Acquisition Financing?

Acquisition financing refers to the process of obtaining funds to purchase or merge with another company. The purpose of acquiring the other company could include expanding business operations or entering new markets. Acquisition financing can be either debt or equity-based, depending on the company's financial capacity. Debt financing includes bank loans, bonds, and other forms of credit, while equity financing involves selling shares of the company to investors. The choice of financing depends on the company's risk appetite, capital structure, and creditworthiness.

Acquisition financing is one of the critical factors that determine the success of mergers and acquisitions. It allows companies to raise the necessary funds to make strategic investments and expand operations. The financing can also allow companies to access new markets and customers. In some cases, the acquiring company can leverage the target company's assets to secure favorable financing terms.

Unique to acquisition financing is its level of complexity. The process requires careful financial analysis, due diligence, and negotiation skills to ensure that the financing meets the company's long-term goals and objectives. A robust acquisition financing plan lays the foundation for a successful acquisition.

A report by Deloitte in 2021 revealed that the global mergers and acquisition activity hit an all-time high of $4 trillion in the first half of 2021. The report attributed the increase in activity to the pent-up demand for deals as a result of the pandemic-induced slowdown and low-interest rates.

How Does Acquisition Financing Work?

Acquisition financing enables businesses to acquire companies or assets with borrowed capital, which they then pay back over time. There are two types of acquisition financing: debt and equity. Debt financing requires the borrower to pay back the principal plus interest, while equity financing involves the sale of company stock in exchange for capital. Various sources provide acquisition financing, including banks, private equity firms, and alternative lenders. The borrower's creditworthiness and the target company's profitability and growth potential determine the terms and costs of financing. Acquisition financing is a crucial tool for expanding businesses and can lead to significant returns on investment.

While there are risks involved in acquisition financing, it can provide strategic advantages, such as gaining market share, diversifying products or services, and reducing competition by acquiring a competitor. Knowing the target company's financial details and conducting due diligence before acquiring it are essential to managing these risks.

Acquisition financing has been used in many high-profile deals, such as Facebook's acquisition of Instagram and Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods. These acquisitions have led to significant growth and market dominance for the acquiring companies. However, not all acquisitions are successful, and poor financing or integration strategies can lead to failure.


Types of Acquisition Financing

Acquisition financing is a critical aspect of business, enabling companies to acquire other businesses or assets. In this section, we will explore the different ways in which companies can finance their acquisition activities.

To understand the various acquisition financing options available to businesses, let's take a look at the following table:

   Type of Acquisition Financing Description     Debt financing Borrowing funds that are to be paid back with interest over time   Equity financing Sourcing funds by selling a portion of the company in the form of stocks   Mezzanine financing High-risk, high-yield type of financing that blends debt and equity financing   Asset-based financing Sourcing funds by offering a part of the acquired company's assets as collateral    

Debt financing is the most popular type of acquisition financing, with its focus on low-interest and manageable repayment options. Equity financing can be very costly, but it allows companies to avoid accumulating significant amounts of debt. Mezzanine financing is suited for companies with a high-risk tolerance and higher potential returns on investment, and Asset-based financing is ideal for companies that have valuable assets.

It is worth considering a combination of these modes of financing to craft the most effective financing plan for acquiring a business.

An interesting fact is that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley utilized a new type of financing strategy known as the "staple financing" technique for Uber's acquisition of Postmates in 2020. This involved financing being offered in purchase deals, ensuring that the funds needed for the acquisition are present.


Advantages of Acquisition Financing

Acquisition Financing: The Benefits

Acquisition financing presents several advantages when funding a business acquisition. The acquirer does not have to use all their financial resources when financing the acquisition, as they can leverage resources from other sources. This type of financing option also provides the acquirer with an opportunity to expand their business through acquisitions.

Another advantage is that the acquirer can achieve greater control over the new business entities, achieve economies of scale, and better management efficiencies. Furthermore, acquisition financing can offer greater flexibility in the terms of the loan, such as the length and amount of commitments.

When seeking acquisition financing, it is essential to engage with lenders who have experience in this area. Lenders can provide advice on industry-specific rules, regulations, and potential risks. Mitigating these risks would strengthen the acquirer's position during the acquisition process. Overall, acquisition financing can benefit companies by increasing their market position, creating growth opportunities, and enhancing their shareholder value.

Risks Associated with Acquisition Financing

Acquisition Financing: Mitigating Risks


Acquiring a company through financing can be risky. The process requires careful evaluation of potential risks like market volatility, legal issues, and integration complexities. These risks can cause financial instability, leading to long-term harm to the acquiring company. Thus, companies must take steps to mitigate these risks.


One way is to conduct thorough due diligence and leverage legal and financial experts. Another is to analyze the financing options available, such as equity or debt financing, and determine which is the most suitable. Companies must also consider the impact of the acquisition on their credit rating and financial stability.


It's essential to have a contingency plan in place to minimize business disruptions during the integration process. Additionally, it's crucial to maintain open communication with stakeholders, including investors and employees, to ensure that everyone is on the same page during the transition.


By taking these steps, companies can reduce the risks associated with acquisition financing and increase the chances of a successful acquisition. Don't miss out on growth opportunities due to fear of risk, but take steps to mitigate them effectively.

5 Key Facts About Acquisition Financing:

  • ✅ Acquisition financing is a type of financing used to fund the purchase of another company or business unit. (Source: Investopedia)
  • ✅ There are several types of acquisition financing, including debt financing, equity financing, and hybrid financing. (Source: Wells Fargo)
  • ✅ Debt financing for acquisition typically involves loans, while equity financing involves selling a stake in the company to investors. (Source: The Balance)
  • ✅ Hybrid financing for acquisition combines both debt and equity financing to provide a balanced approach to financing the acquisition. (Source: Oxford Research Encyclopedia)
  • ✅ Acquisition financing can be a complex process with many legal and financial considerations that should be carefully evaluated before making a decision. (Source: Chron)

FAQs about Acquisition Financing: Definition, How It Works, Types

What is acquisition financing?

Acquisition financing is a type of funding used to buy a company or business unit.  

How does acquisition financing work?

Acquisition financing works by providing the necessary funds to purchase a company. The financing method can vary depending on the type of acquisition and the financial situation of the buyer.  

What are the types of acquisition financing?

The types of acquisition financing include senior debt, mezzanine financing, equity financing, and seller financing.  

What is senior debt in acquisition financing?

Senior debt is a type of debt financing that has priority over other debt in the event of bankruptcy. It typically has a lower interest rate than other forms of debt financing.  

What is mezzanine financing in acquisition financing?

Mezzanine financing is a hybrid of debt and equity financing that is used to fund acquisitions. It typically involves a higher interest rate than senior debt but includes an equity component.  

What is equity financing in acquisition financing?

Equity financing is a type of funding where investors provide capital in exchange for ownership in the company. It is often used in acquisitions to provide the necessary funds to purchase a company.