Chapter 1 offers a fresh conceptualization of life after privatization. The first section of the chapter reviews two sets of literature that have not fully met: that on privatization and that on mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
The second section outlines a simple trend neither fully reported, nor theoretically conceptualized, in the literature. On the one hand, some privatized firms have become today’s European and global giants, merging with or acquiring other firms. These are referred to as ‘Alphas.’ On the other hand, some privatized firms have been taken-over by Alphas or other leading companies in the sector. These are called ‘Betas.’
The chapter closes by outlining the central questions that guide the book: which privatized airlines, automakers and electricity companies in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain are Alphas and Betas? And why do firms become Alphas or Betas?