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Shareholders’ expectations, aspiration levels, and mergers

  • E. Diecidue
  • J. van de Ven
  • U. Weitzel

This paper offers a new explanation of value-reducing mergers and stock market driven takeovers by introducing recent research on aspiration levels and individual decision making under risk. If market valuation constitutes an aspiration level for managers, we show that managers may be tempted to seek riskier mergers in order to meet shareholder optimism. Such merger seeking behavior increases in bidder overvaluation and can also favor acquisitions when the expected value of takeovers is lower than alternative investments. The paper provides support for several empirical findings and complements existing market-timing models as its predictions are decoupled from equity offers and are independent from the means of payment.

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File URL: http://dspace.library.uu.nl/bitstream/handle/1874/309446/08_06.pdf
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Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08-06.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0806
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  1. Roll, Richard, 1986. "The Hubris Hypothesis of Corporate Takeovers," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 197-216, April.
  2. Richard A. Lambert, 1986. "Executive Effort and Selection of Risky Projects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 77-88, Spring.
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  8. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Firth, Michael, 1980. "Takeovers, Shareholder Returns, and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 235-60, March.
  17. Arzac, Enrique R. & Bawa, Vijay S., 1977. "Portfolio choice and equilibrium in capital markets with safety-first investors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 277-288, May.
  18. Dodd, Peter, 1980. "Merger proposals, management discretion and stockholder wealth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 105-137, June.
  19. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2002. "The Q-Theory of Mergers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 198-204, May.
  20. Rhodes-Kropf, Matthew & Robinson, David T. & Viswanathan, S., 2005. "Valuation waves and merger activity: The empirical evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 561-603, September.
  21. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Richard H. Thaler, 2006. "Individual Preferences, Monetary Gambles, and Stock Market Participation: A Case for Narrow Framing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1069-1090, September.
  22. Matthew Rhodes-Kropf & S. Viswanathan, 2004. "Market Valuation and Merger Waves," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(6), pages 2685-2718, December.
  23. Stutzer, Michael, 2003. "Portfolio choice with endogenous utility: a large deviations approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 116(1-2), pages 365-386.
  24. John Payne, 2005. "It is Whether You Win or Lose: The Importance of the Overall Probabilities of Winning or Losing in Risky Choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 5-19, January.
  25. Ming Dong & David Hirshleifer & Scott Richardson & Siew Hong Teoh, 2006. "Does Investor Misvaluation Drive the Takeover Market?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 725-762, 04.
  26. Harford, Jarrad, 2005. "What drives merger waves?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 529-560, September.
  27. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  28. Raghavendra Rau, P. & Vermaelen, Theo, 1998. "Glamour, value and the post-acquisition performance of acquiring firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 223-253, August.
  29. 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.
  30. Jensen, Michael C. & Ruback, Richard S., 1983. "The market for corporate control : The scientific evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 5-50, April.
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  32. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  33. Jensen, Michael C, 1988. "Takeovers: Their Causes and Consequences," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 21-48, Winter.
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