The Impact on Shareholder Value of Top Defense Counsel in Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation
42 Pages Posted: 3 May 2016 Last revised: 25 May 2017
Date Written: May 25, 2017
Defense litigation counsel are retained by target firm management to defend them in mergers and acquisition (M&A) litigation. We use hand collected data from a ten-year period (2003-2012) to examine whether the choice of defense litigation counsel affects the outcome of M&A litigation and shareholder value. We construct league tables for defense litigation firms and identify the top 10 defense litigation firms. Comparing these firms with all other defense litigation firms, we find that top defense litigation counsel are involved in a significantly higher proportion of cash deals, non-same-industry deals (implying a lower possibility of antitrust-related concerns), and friendlier deals, all of which are associated with smaller initial takeover premium proposals. We find evidence that, controlling for endogeneity, top defense litigation counsel negotiate cheaper and faster settlements than other defense litigation counsel thereby protecting low premium deals from more serious challenges. We also show that top defense litigation counsel are more effective in multijurisdictional litigation cases, again obtaining cheaper and faster settlements in low premium deals, which we theorize shows that they are better able to handle the complexity and strategy that accompany these lawsuits.
Keywords: M&A litigation, Shareholder class action lawsuits, Top defense litigation counsel, Multijurisdictional litigation, Takeover premium, Disclosure settlements, Consideration settlements, Lawsuit activity, Endogeneity controls
JEL Classification: G34, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation