Do Investment Banks Have Skill? Performance Persistence of M&A Advisors
We document significant persistence in the average announcement returns to acquisitions advised by an investment bank. Advisors in the top quintile of returns over the past two years outperform the bottom quintile by 1.04% over the next two years, compared to a full-sample average return of 0.72%. Persistence continues to hold after controlling for the component of returns attributable to the acquirer. These results suggest that advisors possess skill, and contrast earlier studies which use bank reputation and market share to measure advisor quality and find no link with returns. Our findings thus advocate a new measure of advisor quality--past performance. However, acquirers instead select banks based on market share, even though it is negatively associated with future performance. The publication of league tables based on value creation, rather than market share, may improve both clients' selection decisions and advisors' incentives to turn away bad deals.
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