The Race of Unicorns: A Signaling Story of Private Acquisitions

69 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2018 Last revised: 16 Sep 2019

See all articles by Xuelin Li

Xuelin Li

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Carlson School of Management

Date Written: September 1, 2019

Abstract

Assets are reallocated less efficiently through mergers and acquisitions (M&As) between private firms compared to the public ones. I develop a theoretical framework to explain how information imperfections inhibit efficiency gains through private acquisitions. Two startups of different qualities are seeking initial public offerings (IPOs) for costly real options and can acquire each other before IPO. Investors initially cannot distinguish their qualities but can observe whether an acquisition occurred. I show that efficiency loss in private acquisitions is not generated by the quality of the acquirer, but rather due to a lower probability of completing deals. Furthermore, undertaking acquisitions before IPO generates a positive signal about firm quality during stock issuance. Lastly, I document empirical evidence in support of this signaling effect.

Keywords: Real Options, Startups, Merger and Acquisitions, Initial Public Offering, Information Asymmetry

JEL Classification: G14, G32, G34, D81, D82

Suggested Citation

Li, Xuelin, The Race of Unicorns: A Signaling Story of Private Acquisitions (September 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3195626 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3195626

Xuelin Li (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Carlson School of Management ( email )

Minneapolis, MN
United States

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