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Rumors and pre-announcement trading: why sell target stocks before acquisition announcements?

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  • Yuan Gao

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  • Derek Oler

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Abstract

We track trading activity in the days preceding acquisition announcements for target firms and find that abnormally high trading volume precedes significant price movement. Using additional intraday data, we find increased active-selling in target stocks before acquisition announcements that offsets increased active-buying. This is unexpected because sellers often lose money when an acquisition is announced. After ruling out alternative explanations, we find evidence that sellers are rational investors who trade on the market’s perceived overreaction to takeover rumors. While sellers lose money when a rumor precedes an actual announcement, in most cases rumors fail to materialize into public announcements. We provide evidence that the significant pre-announcement volume we document reflects the market’s processing of highly uncertain information in takeover rumors. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Yuan Gao & Derek Oler, 2012. "Rumors and pre-announcement trading: why sell target stocks before acquisition announcements?," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 485-508, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:rqfnac:v:39:y:2012:i:4:p:485-508
    DOI: 10.1007/s11156-011-0262-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chou, Hsin-I & Tian, Gloria Y. & Yin, Xiangkang, 2015. "Takeover rumors: Returns and pricing of rumored targets," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 13-27.
    2. Yin-Hua Yeh & Pei-Gi Shu & Ya-Wei Yang, 2016. "How Insiders’ Personal Incentives and Timeliness of Information Revelation are Related to Their Sales Timing," Review of Pacific Basin Financial Markets and Policies (RPBFMP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 19(02), pages 1-26, June.
    3. Yu Huang & Yao Cheng, 2015. "Stock manipulation and its effects: pump and dump versus stabilization," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 44(4), pages 791-815, May.
    4. repec:kap:rqfnac:v:49:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11156-016-0614-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Kedia, Simi & Zhou, Xing, 2014. "Informed trading around acquisitions: Evidence from corporate bonds," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 182-205.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Takeover announcements; Rumors; Trade reaction; G14; G34; G12; D82; D83;

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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