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Acquisition vs. Procurement: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 4, 2023
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Key Differences

Acquisition and procurement are two terms that are often used interchangeably in the business world, though they have distinct differences. Acquisition specifically pertains to obtaining ownership or control of assets or entities. Procurement, conversely, is the overall process involved in obtaining goods, services, or contracts from external sources.
It's pertinent to note that acquisition often implies a longer-term engagement and integration process. It may involve substantial alterations in the obtained entity’s legal and organizational status. In contrast, procurement is primarily concerned with sourcing and purchasing and does not involve changes in legal structures or ownership.
Acquisition is often associated with strategies for business growth and expansion, such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A). It involves acquiring other businesses or assets to build company strength. On the other hand, procurement encompasses a range of activities, from identifying needs, sourcing suppliers, negotiating price, and ensuring timely delivery, which cater to the operational requirements of an organization.
Acquisition can alter the financial and operational status of a business, involving complex regulatory and financial processes. This complexity often necessitates in-depth analysis and regulatory compliance. Conversely, procurement, while crucial to operational success, is an ongoing business function that ensures the timely provision of necessary resources and tends not to impact a company’s organizational structure or ownership.
In business contexts, acquisition is seen as a strategic move to acquire valuable assets or businesses which can enhance the acquirer’s market position. Procurement is a crucial operational function ensuring the smooth acquisition of essential goods and services from suppliers, ensuring that all operational and production processes can proceed without interruption.

Comparison Chart


Obtaining ownership or control of assets/entities.
The process to find, acquire, buy goods or services.

Word Form


Use in Sentence

"The acquisition of the company was finalized."
"The procurement of supplies is essential for production."

Associated Words

Acquire, acquirer
Procure, procurer

Field/Industry Usage

Common in finance and business (M&A).
Widely used in supply chain management.

Acquisition and Procurement Definitions


"Language acquisition in early childhood is often much quicker than in adulthood."
Acquisition can also refer to the strategic obtaining of resources or data.


Procurement is the action of obtaining or procuring something.
The procurement of necessary materials enabled the project to continue.


"The collector's acquisition of the rare artifact was celebrated among his peers."


Procurement can also mean the establishment of agreements with suppliers.
Through careful negotiation, procurement established a beneficial agreement with the supplier.


"The acquisition of the smaller tech firm by the multinational corporation was finalized last week."
In learning, acquisition refers to the initial stage of learning or encoding new information.


In business, procurement refers to the process of locating and acquiring goods and services from suppliers.
The procurement team ensured the timely delivery of equipment for the project.


"The spy was skilled in the acquisition of classified information."
In finance, acquisition refers to the attainment of a particular asset or object of value.


In a strategic sense, procurement involves ensuring the best possible cost for purchases of goods and services.
Efficient procurement strategies enabled the company to maximize its operational budget.


The act of acquiring.


Procurement may involve activities like supplier research, negotiations, and strategic selection.
In an effort to adopt green practices, the company focused procurement efforts on environmentally responsible suppliers.


Something acquired or gained
Added two new acquisitions to my library.


To get by special effort; obtain or acquire
Managed to procure a pass.


The act or process of acquiring.
The acquisition of sports equipment can be fun in itself.


To bring about; effect
Procure a solution to a knotty problem.


The thing acquired or gained; a gain.
That graphite tennis racquet is quite an acquisition.


To obtain (a sexual partner) for another.


(computing) The process of sampling signals that measure real world physical conditions and converting these signals into digital numeric values that can be manipulated by a computer.


To obtain sexual partners for others.


The act or process of acquiring.
The acquisition or loss of a province.


(uncountable) The purchasing department of a company.


The purchase of one commercial enterprise by another, whether for cash, or in a trade of stock of the purchasing company for that of the purchased company.


(countable) The act of procuring or obtaining; obtainment; attainment.
He was responsible for the procurement of materials and supplies.
I have a lot of experience in the procurement of construction materials and sub-contracts.


The thing acquired or gained; an acquirement; a gain; as, learning is an acquisition.


Efficient contrivance; management; agency.
They think it done by her procurement. -Dryden.


The act of contracting or assuming or acquiring possession of something;
The acquisition of wealth
The acquisition of one company by another


The act of procuring or obtaining; obtainment; attainment.


Something acquired;
A recent acquisition by the museum


Efficient contrivance; management; agency.
They think it doneBy her procurement.


The cognitive process of acquiring skill or knowledge;
The child's acquisition of language


The act of getting possession of something;
He was responsible for the procurement of materials and supplies


An ability that has been acquired by training


"The acquisition of new books broadened the library's collection."
In business, acquisition is the purchase of one company by another.


Is acquisition used only in business contexts?

No, it can be used broadly to mean obtaining anything, though it's often associated with business and finance.

What is a synonym for acquisition?

“Acquirement” can be used as a synonym in certain contexts.

What does acquisition generally mean?

Acquisition typically refers to the act of obtaining or gaining possession of something.

Does acquisition always imply purchasing?

No, it may simply mean obtaining, which might not necessarily involve a transaction.

Can acquisition refer to obtaining skills or knowledge?

Yes, for instance, "language acquisition" refers to learning a new language.

Can procurement apply to both goods and services?

Yes, procurement can refer to obtaining both goods and services from external sources.

What does procurement refer to in a general sense?

Procurement generally involves the process of finding, acquiring, and buying goods, services, or works.

Does procurement only relate to business?

No, it's commonly used in business but applies anywhere goods/services are obtained.

Can a company have both procurement and acquisition departments?

Yes, a procurement department typically manages buying, while an acquisition department may handle mergers and purchases of companies or assets.

Can you provide an example of using both terms in one sentence?

"The company's procurement strategy focused on ethical suppliers, following the acquisition of a brand known for sustainability."

Is there a term that encompasses both procurement and acquisition?

“Purchasing” might encompass both, though it lacks the specificity of each term.

What is a key component of procurement?

A key aspect involves sourcing and establishing agreements with suppliers.

Can procurement involve legal considerations?

Yes, it often involves negotiating and establishing contracts.

Do both terms imply a legal change in ownership?

Acquisition usually involves a change in ownership, while procurement does not.

Can acquisition ever involve a hostile action?

In business, a "hostile acquisition" refers to obtaining control without the consent of the entity being acquired.

Are acquisition and procurement interchangeable?

Not exactly, while related, acquisition often implies obtaining ownership, while procurement focuses on the process of obtaining goods/services.

Can both terms be used in everyday language?

Yes, though acquisition is more common in everyday language, procurement tends to be used in a business or organizational context.

Does acquisition always involve a financial transaction?

Not always, as acquisition might involve gaining something without purchasing, like knowledge.

Which term is broader, acquisition or procurement?

Procurement is broader, involving multiple steps and processes, while acquisition refers specifically to the act of obtaining.

Can procurement involve long-term agreements?

Yes, procurement often involves establishing long-term purchasing agreements with suppliers.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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