Does Asymmetric Information Affect the Premium in Mergers and Acquisitions?
Our objective is to test the influence of information asymmetry between potential buyers on the premium paid for an acquisition. We analyze mergers and acquisitions as English auctions with asymmetric information. The theory of dynamic auctions with private values predicts that more informed bidders should pay a lower price for an acquisition. We test that prediction with a sample of 1,026 acquisitions in the United States between 1990 and 2007. We hypothesize that blockholders of the target’s shares are better informed than other bidders because they possess privileged information on the target. Information asymmetry between participants is shown to influence the premium paid. Blockholders pay a much lower conditional premium than do other buyers (around 70% lower). Tests also show that the characteristics of the target, specifically the runup, sales growth and size, affect the premium. The size of the target relative to the buyer, the choice of a public takeover bid and the hostility of the bid are also influential.
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