The combination of two (or more) companies into a new or existing legal entity. There are two basic types of merger: 1) the acquisition by one company of all the shares in another, with one of the companies (not necessarily the acquirer) surviving as the legal entity; 2) a new legal entity is created to combine the assets and operations of two companies, with shareholders of both companies offered shares in that new entity. The latter type of merger is often called consolidation in the US. Mergers, but also acquisitions are often presented as "mergers of equals".
merger in the news
Comment in the FT's Lex column in December 2012 referred to research from Cass Business School that suggested real mergers of equals, involving level splits of management, the board, revenues, assets, employees and even the name, are few and far between. Of over 1,200 deals described as mergers between 1995 and 2012, only 300 met Cass’s criteria for a genuine merger.