What’s Really in a Deal? Evidence from Textual Analysis of M&A Conference Calls
43 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2018 Last revised: 17 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 16, 2020
Using a sample of 814 transcripts from 2011 to 2018, we examine information within merger and acquisition conference calls. Textual analysis reveals significant differences between the content of M&A call transcripts and both contemporaneous corporate press releases and earnings conference calls. We find participation of target executive types in M&A calls is related to payment choice and consistent with managerial incentives. Appearances of target executives are associated with a negative market reaction which is attributed to retention of these executives. We also identify a negative relation between textual sentiment and market reaction consistent with a response to higher levels of information asymmetry. Greater quantitative information, however, is positively related to the market reaction of M&A calls. We develop an M&A motive dictionary to identify financial and strategic content within call transcripts. Consistent with prior literature on merger motivation, deals with more finance (strategy) oriented words have a higher (lower) market reaction. Overall, our results show that deal-related textual analysis explains a highly significant and economically important component of gains/losses to acquirers.
Keywords: Acquisitions, Conference Calls, Mergers, Press Releases, Textual Analysis
JEL Classification: G14, G32, G34, M12
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