The added value created by joining two separate firms, enabling a greater return to be achieved than by their individual contributions as separate entities; i.e. the overall return is greater than the sum of its parts. The synergy is usually anticipated and analysed during merger or takeover activities; for example, one firm's strength in marketing would be complementary to the other firm's versatility in new product development. Although synergy is often optimistically sought, it can be hard to achieve in practice owing to resistance to change, particularly after a contested takeover. The corporate culture that each participant may have built up over many years of separate existence may prove too inflexible to enable a productive merger to be achieved without friction. The condition that arises when, far from adding value, a merger produces an outcome that is less than the sum of the parts is known as anergy.

Accounting dictionary. 2014.

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