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Published August 7, 2017 | Submitted
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Improved Methods for Detecting Acquirer Skills


Large merger and acquisition (M&A) samples feature the pervasive presence of repetitive acquirers. They offer an attractive empirical context for revealing the presence of acquirer skills (persistent superior performance). But panel data M&A are quite heterogeneous; just a few acquirers undertake many M&As. Does this feature affect statistical inference? To investigate the issue, our study relies on simulations based on real data sets. The results suggest the existence of a bias, such that extant statistical support for the presence of acquirer skills appears compromised. We introduce a new resampling method to detect acquirer skills with attractive statistical properties (size and power) for samples of acquirers that complete at least five acquisitions. The proposed method confirms the presence of acquirer skills but only for a marginal fraction of the acquirer population. This result is robust to endogenous attrition and varying time periods between successive transactions. Claims according to which acquirer skills are a first order factor explaining acquirer cross-­‐sectional cumulated abnormal returns appears overstated.

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August 20, 2023
January 13, 2024