Barbarians at the Gates: State Control of Global Mergers and Acquisitions
Abstract Cross-border mergers and acquisitions are a major and often politicised component of foreign direct investment. Using data on individual transactions between 1970 and 2006, we examine the restrictions countries place on mergers and acquisitions, whether they use these controls to discriminate against foreigners seeking to acquire domestic firms, and what factors may predict the propensity to block foreign entry by this method of direct investment. Drawing partly on the existing literature, we test hypotheses that state intervention can be explained by characteristics of the countries whose firms are targeted by acquirers, including per capita income, democracy, trade exposure, market size, government share of national income and industrial structure. Although democracy, trade exposure and high government expenditure are associated with more stringent merger control laws, none of these attributes cause states to discriminate against cross-border mergers. Countries with high per capita incomes, large markets and strict merger control laws, do use those regulations to discourage foreign acquirers. A second set of tests, based on observations of individual deals, rather than national aggregates, reveal that governments are particularly averse to foreigners acquiring firms that are bankrupt or in the defence sector. Overall, governments do treat cross-border mergers and acquisitions differently, and use their merger control laws to discriminate against foreign investors, particularly with respect to certain types of transactions. Copyright 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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Volume (Year): 33 (2010)
Issue (Month): 9 (09)
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