Do Firms with Specialized M&A Staff Make Better Acquisitions?
75 Pages Posted: 10 May 2021 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021
Date Written: May 2021
We open the black box of the M&A decision process by constructing a comprehensive sample of US firms with specialized M&A staff. We investigate whether specialized M&A staff improves acquisition performance or facilitates managerial empire building instead. We find that firms with specialized M&A staff make better acquisitions when acquisition performance is measured by stock price reactions to announcements, long-run stock returns, operating performance, divestitures, and analyst earnings forecasts. This effect does not hold when the CEO is powerful, overconfident, or entrenched. Acquisitions by firms without specialized staff do not create value, on average. We provide evidence on mechanisms through which specialized M&A staff improves acquisition performance. For identification, we use the staggered recognition of inevitable disclosure doctrine as a source of exogenous variation in the employment of specialized M&A staff.
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