Once an M&A transaction has closed, the impact upon the acquirer would typically be significant (again depending on the deal size). The acquirer’s capital structure will change, depending on how the M&A deal was designed. An all-cash deal will substantially deplete the acquirer’s cash holdings. But as many companies seldom have the cash hoard available to make full payment for a target firm in cash, all-cash deals are often financed through debt. While this additional debt increases a company’s indebtedness, the higher debt load may be justified by the additional cash flows contributed by the target firm.
Sprint saw stiff competitive pressures from AT&T (which acquired Cingular), Verizon and Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) wildly popular iPhone. With the decline of cash from operations and with high capital-expenditure requirements, the company undertook cost-cutting measures and laid off employees. In 2008, the company wrote off an astonishing $30 billion in one-time charges due to impairment to goodwill, and its stock was given a junk status rating. With a $35 billion price tag, the merger clearly did not pay off. (Read about the implications of this label in What Is A Corporate Credit Rating? )