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

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  • Yuan Gao
  • Derek Oler

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

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  • 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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    2. 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.
    3. Nancy L. Harp & Kevin H. Kim & Derek K. Oler, 2021. "A bold move or biting off more than they can chew: examining the performance of small acquirers," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 393-422, February.
    4. Davis, Frederick & Khadivar, Hamed & Walker, Thomas J., 2021. "Institutional trading in firms rumored to be takeover targets," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Brada, Josef C. & Chen, Chunda & Jia, Jingyi & Kutan, Ali M. & Perez, M. Fabricio, 2022. "Value creation and value destruction in investor-state dispute arbitration," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    8. Qian, Qian & Yang, Yang & Gu, Jing & Feng, Hairong, 2019. "Information authenticity, spreading willingness and credit risk contagion – A dual-layer network perspective," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 536(C).
    9. Apostolos Dasilas & Chris Grose & Michael A. Talias, 2017. "Investigating the valuation effects of reverse takeovers: evidence from Europe," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 49(4), pages 973-1004, November.
    10. Kedia, Simi & Zhou, Xing, 2014. "Informed trading around acquisitions: Evidence from corporate bonds," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 182-205.
    11. Tugce Karatas & Ali Hirsa, 2021. "Predicting Status of Pre and Post M&A Deals Using Machine Learning and Deep Learning Techniques," Papers 2110.09315, arXiv.org.
    12. Yue Dong & Jiepeng Wang & Tingqiang Chen, 2019. "Price Linkage Rumors in the Stock Market and Investor Risk Contagion on Bilayer-Coupled Networks," Complexity, Hindawi, vol. 2019, pages 1-21, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Takeover announcements; Rumors; Trade reaction; G14; G34; G12; D82; D83;
    All these keywords.

    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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