Inefficient Mergers

70 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2014 Last revised: 30 Sep 2019

See all articles by Yelena Larkin

Yelena Larkin

York University - Schulich School of Business

Evgeny Lyandres

Tel Aviv University

Date Written: August 2, 2019


Although complementarity between products and/or technologies of bidders and targets is considered a key driver of M\&A deals, many observed mergers are inefficient: Complementarity gains in actual mergers are lower than the gains that could have been obtained were the targets acquired by different bidders. In this paper we propose a possible reason for the existence of inefficient mergers, which is based on search and information frictions. Our model examines three such frictions: target's obsolescence risk, difficulties in evaluating complementarity gains, and competitive interaction among potential bidders in output markets. We test the model's predictions using two established measures of complementarity gains in mergers: product similarity and technological overlap. Both sets of tests indicate that the degree of inefficiency in observed M\&As is related to targets' and bidders' characteristics in ways consistent with the model's predictions. More generally, our results suggest that search and value discovery are important determinants of merger outcomes.

Keywords: M&As, search frictions, complementarities, product similarity, technological overlap

JEL Classification: G32, L13

Suggested Citation

Larkin, Yelena and Lyandres, Evgeny, Inefficient Mergers (August 2, 2019). Journal of Banking and Finance, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Yelena Larkin

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

Evgeny Lyandres (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel-Aviv, 6997801
6400241 (Fax)

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