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Corporate Governance and Merger Activity in the U.S.: Making Sense of the 1980s and 1990s

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  • Bengt Holmstrom
  • Steven N. Kaplan

Abstract

This paper describes and considers explanations for changes in corporate governance and merger activity in the United States since 1980. Corporate governance in the 1980s was dominated by intense merger activity distinguished by the prevalence of leveraged buyouts (LBOs) and hostility. After a brief decline in the early 1990s, substantial merger activity resumed in the second half of the decade, while LBOs and hostility did not. Instead, internal corporate governance mechanisms appear to have played a larger role in the 1990s. We conclude by considering whether these changes and the movement toward shareholder value are likely to be permanent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8220.

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Date of creation: Apr 2001
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Publication status: published as Holmstrom, Bengt and Steven N. Kaplan. "Corporate Governance And Merger Activity In The United States: Making Sense Of The 1980s And 1990s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2001, v15(2,Spring), 121-144.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8220

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