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The Effects of Taxation on the Merger Decision

  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • David Reishus

This paper presents estimates of the tax benefits generated by a sample of U.S. mergers and acquisitions involving two public corporations over the period 1968-83 and estimates a "marriage model" based on differences between these mergers and another sample of "pseudomergers" that did not occur to determine the impact of these tax benefits on the probability of two firms combining. Our findings reject the hypothesis that leverage played a large role in fostering these transactions, and that the tax losses and credits of acquired firms likewise exerted no impact on merger activity. Though the use of such benefits by acquiring firms to shield profits of other firms did increase the level of activity, the impact was quite small. On the whole, our results suggest that the changes in tax provisions with respect to mergers introduced by the Tax Reform Act of 1986 will have a small impact on U.S. mergers and acquisitions.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2192.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2192.

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Date of creation: Mar 1987
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Publication status: published as Corporate Takeovers: Causes and Consequences, edited by Alan J. Auerbach,pp. 157-183. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2192
Note: PE
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  1. King, Mervyn A, 1974. "Taxation and the Cost of Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 21-35, January.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & James R. Hines, Jr., 1987. "Anticipated Tax Changes and the Timing of Investment," NBER Chapters, in: Taxes and Capital Formation, pages 85-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Auerbach, Alan J, 1979. "Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 433-46, August.
  4. Alan J. Auerbach & James M. Poterba, 1986. "Tax Loss Carryforwards and Corporate Tax Incentives," NBER Working Papers 1863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Miller, Merton H, 1977. "Debt and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 261-75, May.
  6. Palepu, Krishna G., 1986. "Predicting takeover targets : A methodological and empirical analysis," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 3-35, March.
  7. Roger H. Gordon & James R. Hines, Jr. & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Notes on the Tax Treatment of Structures," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 223-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bradford, David F., 1981. "The incidence and allocation effects of a tax on corporate distributions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-22, February.
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