Leverage and acquisition performance

Leverage and acquisition performance From an agency perspective, leverage may have a positive effect on firm performance by limiting managers’ ability to allocate resources to unproductive uses, as well as increasing pressure on them to perform well. Consequently, we might expect leverage to have a positive impact on acquisition performance. However, the increased risks associated with higher leverage, combined with the other risks inherent in an acquisition, could also cause managers to take actions to reduce risk even if doing so is contrary to value maximization. High debt levels might also limit managerial discretion over how resources are allocated during the acquisition process, which can have a negative impact on performance. We investigate the effect of leverage on post-acquisition stock performance and find that post-acquisition performance is decreasing in leverage brought by the target firm and in additional leverage taken on to execute the acquisition. This negative performance is clustered among acquirers who are already financially constrained. Our results are robust to various returns measurement methodologies and to the inclusion of several controls known to predict future returns. Our results also represent viable investment strategies, and suggest that the market underestimates difficulties that arise from acquisition-related increases in leverage. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting Springer Journals
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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Economics / Management Science; Finance/Investment/Banking; Accounting/Auditing; Econometrics; Operations Research/Decision Theory
ISSN
0924-865X
eISSN
1573-7179
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11156-013-0385-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

From an agency perspective, leverage may have a positive effect on firm performance by limiting managers’ ability to allocate resources to unproductive uses, as well as increasing pressure on them to perform well. Consequently, we might expect leverage to have a positive impact on acquisition performance. However, the increased risks associated with higher leverage, combined with the other risks inherent in an acquisition, could also cause managers to take actions to reduce risk even if doing so is contrary to value maximization. High debt levels might also limit managerial discretion over how resources are allocated during the acquisition process, which can have a negative impact on performance. We investigate the effect of leverage on post-acquisition stock performance and find that post-acquisition performance is decreasing in leverage brought by the target firm and in additional leverage taken on to execute the acquisition. This negative performance is clustered among acquirers who are already financially constrained. Our results are robust to various returns measurement methodologies and to the inclusion of several controls known to predict future returns. Our results also represent viable investment strategies, and suggest that the market underestimates difficulties that arise from acquisition-related increases in leverage.

Journal

Review of Quantitative Finance and AccountingSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 30, 2013

References

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