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Do firms have leverage targets? Evidence from acquisitions

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Author Info

  • Harford, Jarrad
  • Klasa, Sandy
  • Walcott, Nathan

Abstract

In the context of large acquisitions, we provide evidence on whether firms have target capital structures. We examine how deviations from these targets affect how bidders choose to finance acquisitions and how they adjust their capital structure following the acquisitions. We show that when a bidder's leverage is over its target level, it is less likely to finance the acquisition with debt and more likely to finance the acquisition with equity. Also, we find a positive association between the merger-induced changes in target and actual leverage, and we show that bidders incorporate more than two-thirds of the change to the merged firm's new target leverage. Following debt-financed acquisitions, managers actively move the firm back to its target leverage, reversing more than 75% of the acquisition's leverage effect within five years. Overall, our results are consistent with a model of capital structure that includes a target level and adjustment costs.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Financial Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 1-14

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:93:y:2009:i:1:p:1-14

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505576

Related research

Keywords: Capital structure Leverage targets Mergers and acquisitions Trade-off theory;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Dirk Hackbarth, 2011. "Liquidity Mergers," NBER Working Papers 16724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Karampatsas, Nikolaos & Petmezas, Dimitris & Travlos, Nickolaos G., 2014. "Credit ratings and the choice of payment method in mergers and acquisitions," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 474-493.
  3. Uysal, Vahap B., 2011. "Deviation from the target capital structure and acquisition choices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 602-620.
  4. Selim Aren & Lutfihak Alpkan & Bulent Sezen & Ziya Alper Guncu, 2011. "Drivers of firms’ debt ratios: evidence from Taiwanese and Turkish firms," Journal of Business Economics and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 53-70, May.
  5. Pires, Heloisa Márcia & Fernandes, Elton, 2012. "Malmquist financial efficiency analysis for airlines," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 1049-1055.
  6. Pinkowitz, Lee & Sturgess, Jason & Williamson, Rohan, 2013. "Do cash stockpiles fuel cash acquisitions?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 128-149.
  7. Löffler, Gunter & Maurer, Alina, 2011. "Incorporating the dynamics of leverage into default prediction," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 3351-3361.
  8. Dudley, Evan, 2012. "Capital structure and large investment projects," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 1168-1192.
  9. Di Giuli, Alberta, 2013. "The effect of stock misvaluation and investment opportunities on the method of payment in mergers," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 196-215.
  10. García-Feijóo, Luis & Madura, Jeff & Ngo, Thanh, 2012. "Impact of industry characteristics on the method of payment in mergers," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 261-274.
  11. Vermaelen, Theo & Xu, Moqi, 2014. "Acquisition finance and market timing," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 73-91.

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