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Is Attack the Best form of Defence? A Competing Risks Analysis of Acquisition Activity in the UK

  • Andrew P. Dickerson


  • Heather D. Gibson
  • Euclid Tsakalotos


The primary purpose of this paper is to investigate whether companies can use acquisition as a strategy to reduce their probability of takeover. A subsidiary issue is whether such a strategy has any impact on their subsequent probability of bankruptcy. The determinants of making an acquisition, being taken over, and bankruptcy are modelled within a competing risks framework using two large samples of UK manufacturing companies. Our results indicate that, ceteris paribus, companies which make acquisitions can significantly reduce their conditional probability of being taken over, largely through the impact that acquisition has on corporate size. In this sense, attack, through acquisition, is the best form of defence, against takeover.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Kent in its series Studies in Economics with number 9907.

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Date of creation: May 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:9907
Contact details of provider: Postal: School of Economics, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP
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  1. Dickerson, Andrew P & Gibson, Heather D & Tsakalotos, Euclid, 1998. "Takeover Risk and Dividend Strategy: A Study of UK Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 281-300, September.
  2. Hay, Donald A & Liu, Guy S, 1998. "When Do Firms Go in for Growth by Acquisitions?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(2), pages 143-64, May.
  3. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Easy Estimation Methods for Discrete-Time Duration Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 129-38, February.
  4. Lindeboom, Maarten & Theeuwes, Jules, 1991. "Job Duration in the Netherlands: The Co-existence of High Turnover and Permanent Job Attachment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(3), pages 243-64, August.
  5. Narendranathan, Wiji & Stewart, Mark B, 1991. "Simple Methods for Testing for the Proportionality of Cause-Specific Hazards in Competing Risk Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(3), pages 331-40, August.
  6. Han, Aaron & Hausman, Jerry A, 1990. "Flexible Parametric Estimation of Duration and Competing Risk Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, January-M.
  7. Stephen Bond & Costas Meghir, 1990. "Dynamic Investment Models and the Firm's Financial Policy," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0013, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ..
  8. Schiantarelli, Fabio, 1996. "Financial Constraints and Investment: Methodological Issues and International Evidence," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 70-89, Summer.
  9. Dambolena, Ismael G & Khoury, Sarkis J, 1980. " Ratio Stability and Corporate Failure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1017-26, September.
  10. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  11. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1988. "Value Maximization and the Acquisition Process," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 7-20, Winter.
  12. Narendranathan, W. & Stewart, M.B., 1989. "Modelling The Probability Of Leaving Unemployment: Competing Risks Models With Flexible Baseline Hazards," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 331, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  13. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Aaronovitch, Sam & Sawyer, Malcolm C, 1975. "Mergers, Growth, and Concentration," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(1), pages 136-55, March.
  15. Franks, Julian & Mayer, Colin, 1996. "Hostile takeovers and the correction of managerial failure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 163-181, January.
  16. 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.
  17. Dolton, Peter J & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Leaving Teaching in the UK: A Duration Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 431-44, March.
  18. Dickerson, Andrew P & Gibson, Heather D & Tsakalotos, Euclid, 1997. "The Impact of Acquisitions on Company Performance: Evidence from a Large Panel of UK Firms," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 344-61, July.
  19. Utton, M A, 1972. "Mergers and the Growth of Large Firms," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 34(2), pages 189-97, May.
  20. John C. Ham & Samuel Rea, 1986. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Working Papers 592, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  21. Altman, Edward I., 1984. "The success of business failure prediction models : An international survey," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 171-198, June.
  22. Andrew P. Dickerson & Heather D. Gibson & Euclid Tsakalotos, 1997. "Deterring Takeover: Evidence from a Large Panel of UK Firms," Studies in Economics 9707, School of Economics, University of Kent.
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