Inefficiencies and Externalities from Opportunistic Acquirers
56 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2016 Last revised: 7 Oct 2018
Date Written: November 30, 2017
If opportunistic acquirers can buy targets using overvalued shares, then there is an inefficiency in the merger and acquisition (M&A) market: The most overvalued rather than the highest-synergy bidder may buy the target. We quantify this inefficiency using a structural estimation approach. We find that the M&A market allocates resources efficiently on average. Opportunistic bidders crowd out high-synergy bidders in only 7% of transactions, resulting in an average synergy loss equal to 9% of the target's value in these inefficient deals. The implied average loss across all deals is 0.63%. Although the inefficiency is small on average, it is large for certain deals, and it is larger when misvaluation is more likely. Even when opportunistic bidders lose the contest, they drive up prices, imposing a large negative externality on the winning synergistic bidders.
Keywords: Mergers and acquisitions, structural estimation, misvaluation, inefficiency, externality
JEL Classification: G14, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation