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Keywords:

  • acquisition;
  • resource transfer;
  • skill transfer;
  • small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • subcontractors;
  • performance

This paper investigates the link between resource and skill transfers and the long-term performance of acquisitions. Rather than taking the more common acquirer's perspective, this research emphasizes the point of view of the acquired firm and focuses on a little-studied type of business, namely, small and medium-sized subcontractor firms. Through 14 case studies of subcontractor acquisitions, we show that those acquired firms can improve their long-term performance in terms of turnover, profitability, number of employees and reduced dependency, if they receive certain types of new resources and skills from acquirers. Particularly, post-acquisition performance is more closely related to the transfer of managerial and functional skills than to operational resources. Three factors (e.g., geographical, business and cultural proximity) also help facilitate some types of transfers. However, the degree of post-acquisition integration does not play a key role in those transfers.