Spatial Geography and Control in Foreign Acquisitions
Journal of International Business Studies, Forthcoming
42 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2013
Date Written: August 20, 2013
This article examines how spatial geography influences firms’ choice of control in cross-border acquisitions (CBAs). Building our arguments on the information asymmetry in CBAs, we argue that geographic distance affects adverse selection and moral hazard problems in CBAs. Geographic distance hinders acquirers’ efforts to assess the true value of the target firm, prompting them to opt for a partial control. At the same time, geographic distance hampers acquirers’ ability to manage contractual relationships and integrate target firms, prompting them to opt for a full control. We argue that the cost and benefit tradeoff of full versus partial ownership vary at different levels of geographic distance. Accordingly, we propose a curvilinear, U-shaped relationship between geographic distance and equity ownership. This relationship is contingent on acquisition relatedness and the listing status of the acquirer (public versus private). As the geographic distance between acquirer and target increases, acquirers assume higher equity stakes in related compared with unrelated acquisitions. At greater geographic distances, public firms acquire more equity ownership than do private firms. Findings from 10,181 deals across 52 acquiring and 61 target countries provide robust support for these arguments.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation