We study the influence of market signals and agency problems on the decision to cancel an announced acquisition. We find major differences between deals involving private vs. public targets. First, controlling for the value of expected synergies, acquisitions are less likely to be cancelled when the target is private rather than public. This finding supports learning rather than the alternative common-information hypothesis. Second, better manager-shareholder interest alignment makes the cancellation of a “bad” deal more likely only when the target is a private firm. This suggests bidder agency problems have a greater influence on acquisition outcome (i.e., learning) when the target is private. Third, cancellation is more likely for private targets when their post-announcement abnormal returns are low, especially if the method of payment includes stock. This indicates that it is important to control for bidder overvaluation when testing the managerial learning hypothesis. Overall, both the learning and agency hypotheses help explain observed differences in deal completion by target type.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 12, 2016
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