Vertical integration is a common and well-understood strategy. Yet it remains one of the riskiest. Merging different stages of production is expensive, difficult to reverse, and often requires companies to enter into activities that are quite different from their core business. In a new Executive Insights, L.E.K. Consulting draws from its experience helping clients think through the merits of upstream and downstream acquisitions to identify the three factors that most often underlie successful vertical integration:

  • Fixing a weakness in the value chain
  • Leveraging a value-chain segment strength
  • Increasing market power or reducing cycle risk