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Target Age and the Acquisition of Innovation in High-Technology Industries

Listed author(s):
  • Sam Ransbotham

    ()

    (Carroll School of Management, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467)

  • Sabyasachi Mitra

    ()

    (College of Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332)

Registered author(s):

    External acquisition of new technology is a growing trend in the innovation and product development process, particularly in high-technology industries, as firms complement internal research and development efforts with aggressive acquisition programs. Yet, despite its importance, there has been little empirical research on the timing of acquisition decisions in high-technology environments. Should organizations wait until more information is available about the target and its markets so that a better valuation can be obtained? Or should the target be acquired early to lower acquisition cost and gain early access to key technologies? Applying an event study methodology to technology acquisitions in the telecommunications industry from 1995 to 2001, we find evidence that supports acquiring early in the face of uncertainty. Our analytical model and empirical analysis uncover two characteristics of young targets that drive benefits from early acquisitions--flexible growth options that provide greater opportunities for synergistic fit, and greater valuation uncertainty that leads to lower prices. However, the negative effect of target age on acquirer value is partially mitigated if the target has recent patents or is privately held. In addition, the probability of acquisition is higher for targets that have signals of higher quality, and lower for targets that have superior access to capital and resources.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1223
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 56 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 11 (November)
    Pages: 2076-2093

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:11:p:2076-2093
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