Riding the Merger Wave: Uncertainty, Reduced Monitoring, and Bad Acquisitions

Ran Duchin
University of Washington – Michael G. Foster School of Business

Breno Schmidt
Emory University – Goizueta Business School

January 1, 2012

Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Forthcoming

Abstract:

We show that acquisitions initiated during periods of high merger activity (“merger waves”) are accompanied by poorer quality of analysts’ forecasts, greater uncertainty, and weaker CEO turnover-performance sensitivity. These conditions imply reduced monitoring and lower penalties for initiating inefficient mergers. Therefore, merger waves may foster agency-driven behavior, which, along with managerial herding, could lead to worse mergers. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find that the average long-term performance of acquisitions initiated during merger waves is significantly worse. We also find that corporate governance of in-wave acquirers is weaker, suggesting that agency problems may be present in merger wave acquisitions.

Riding the Merger Wave- Uncertainty, Reduced Monitoring, and Bad Acquisitions

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