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R&D and Patenting Activity and the Propensity to Acquire in High Technology Industries

Author

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  • Panayotis Dessyllas

    (Said Business School, University of Oxford)

  • Alan Hughes

    (Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the incidence of high technology acquisitions using a large international sample of acquisitions by public high technology firms. Controlling for firms’ financial characteristics, we examine the impact of the following innovation- related factors on the propensity to acquire: R&D-intensity as a proxy for R&D inputs; the citation-weighted patent-intensity as a proxy for R&D output; the stock of citation-weighted patents as a proxy for the accumulated stock of knowledge generated by past R&D efforts. The following conclusions can be drawn with respect to the characteristics of acquirers of non-public targets – mainly private firms and former subsidiaries. First, we find support for the view that the propensity to acquire new knowledge-related assets through acquisitions is driven by declining returns from the exploitation of a firm’s existing knowledge base. Second, we find evidence in favour of the make-or-buy theory that acquisitions are a substitute for in-house R&D activity. Third, our results are in accordance with the theoretical argument that a large stock of accumulated knowledge enhances a firm’s ability to absorb external knowledge through acquisitions. These results suggest that smaller acquisitions can be seen as part of an innovation strategy by acquiring firms with relatively low levels of internal R&D which seek to offset low R&D productivity by exploring a range of potential innovation trajectories in new and smaller business units. Interestingly, we find that these interpretations cannot be made for acquirers of the larger public companies.

Suggested Citation

  • Panayotis Dessyllas & Alan Hughes, 2005. "R&D and Patenting Activity and the Propensity to Acquire in High Technology Industries," Industrial Organization 0507008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0507008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pyykkö, Elina, 2009. "Stock market valuation of R&D spending of firms acquiring targets from technologically abundant countries," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 111-126, April.
    2. Bing Guo & David Pérez-Castrillo & Anna Toldrà-Simats, 2017. "Firms' Innovation Strategy under the Shadow of Analyst Coverage," CESifo Working Paper Series 6574, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Juha-Pekka Kallunki & Elina Pyykkö & Tomi Laamanen, 2009. "Stock Market Valuation, Profitability and R&D Spending of the Firm: The Effect of Technology Mergers and Acquisitions," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(7-8), pages 838-862.
    4. Andreas Panagopoulos & In-Uck Park, 2008. "Patent Protection, Takeovers, and Startup Innovation: A Dynamic Approach," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/201, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    5. Kohli, Reena & Mann, Bikram Jit Singh, 2012. "Analyzing determinants of value creation in domestic and cross border acquisitions in India," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 998-1016.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mergers and acquisitions; acquisition likelihood; R&D; patents;

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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