The evolution of big business in manufacturing and some service industries, together with the role played in this by merger and acquisition (M&A) activity has been thoroughly researched and is well documented. However, despite' the increasing economic and social importance of the UK hotel industry, its development has been largely neglected. Therefore, this thesis set out to explore the development of big business in the hotel industry through the study of M&A activities.
This study employs the multiple case study approach (four UK hotel companies), using M&A theory as the theoretical framework; extensive historical secondary data and semi-structured interviews were carried out for the study, covering a period of 26 years. The analysis was conducted by synthesising data with the M&A theory, in terms of two levels, organisational motives and macro environmental factors. The findings confirm those in the existing literature on what is encompassed by the term big business and the part played by M&A activity in the creation of big business. They also suggest that in the hotel industry the
acquisition of brand name and brand rights is an important motive, one which has been neglected in the general M&A literature discussion. These findings added several new dimensions to big business concepts, through illuminating the role of brand and brand right acquisition in the context of the UK hotel industry. This thesis confirms the utility of deploying the wide range and large quantity of publicly available historical secondary information, which is rarely used. In addition, the application of a qualitative and longitudinal approach, applied to management theory, has broadened the research agenda in the study of hotel business, business history and business management theory.
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