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A Reference Point Theory of Mergers and Acquisitions

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  • Malcolm Baker
  • Xin Pan
  • Jeffrey Wurgler

Abstract

The use of judgmental anchors or reference points in valuing corporations affects several basic aspects of merger and acquisition activity including offer prices, deal success, market reaction, and merger waves. Offer prices are biased towards the 52-week high, a highly salient but largely irrelevant past price, and the modal offer price is exactly that reference price. An offer's probability of acceptance discontinuously increases when the offer exceeds the 52-week high; conversely, bidder shareholders react increasingly negatively as the offer price is pulled upward toward that price. Merger waves occur when high recent returns on the stock market and on likely targets make it easier for bidders to offer the 52-week high.

Suggested Citation

  • Malcolm Baker & Xin Pan & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2009. "A Reference Point Theory of Mergers and Acquisitions," NBER Working Papers 15551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15551
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hong, Xin & Jordan, Bradford D. & Liu, Mark H., 2015. "Industry information and the 52-week high effect," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 111-130.
    2. Barberis, Nicholas & Xiong, Wei, 2012. "Realization utility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 251-271.
    3. David Hirshleifer & Angie Low & Siew Hong Teoh, 2012. "Are Overconfident CEOs Better Innovators?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(4), pages 1457-1498, August.
    4. Sandra Betton & B. Espen Eckbo & Rex Thompson & Karin S. Thorburn, 2014. "Merger Negotiations with Stock Market Feedback," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(4), pages 1705-1745, August.
    5. Caiazza, Stefano & Pozzolo, Alberto Franco, 2016. "The determinants of failed takeovers in the banking sector: Deal or country characteristics?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(S), pages 92-103.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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