Equities

Price Pressure Around Mergers

Topics - Equities Arbitrage

${ numberSection } ${ text }
Price Pressure Around Mergers

It has been well documented that when companies use stock as the currency in a takeover, the acquiring company’s share price tends to fall around the time a deal is announced. Common interpretations of this reaction are that acquirers pay with stock because they believe their stock is overvalued and that the market perceives the merger to be a value-destroying investment project.

Evidence presented in this paper suggests that a substantial part of the negative reaction to stock merger announcements is due to downward price pressure caused by merger arbitrage short selling of acquirers’ stocks around merger announcement dates. In particular, if excess demand curves for stocks are downward sloping in the short-run, then increases in the supply of stock will cause the equilibrium price to decrease. Although the common assumption that stocks’ supply curves are vertical and fixed may be reasonable in many situations, it is unlikely to hold around merger announcements, when short sellers dramatically increase the effective supply of shares.

This paper examines the trading behavior of professional investors around 2,130 mergers announced between 1994 and 2000. We estimate that nearly half of the negative announcement period stock price reaction for acquirers in stock-financed mergers reflects downward price pressure caused by merger arbitrage short selling, suggesting that previous estimates of merger wealth effects are biased downward.

Published in

The Journal of Finance

This document has been provided to you solely for information purposes and does not constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer or any advice or recommendation to purchase any securities or other financial instruments and may not be construed as such. The factual information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed by the author and AQR Capital Management, LLC (“AQR”) to be reliable but it is not necessarily all-inclusive and is not guaranteed as to its accuracy and is not to be regarded as a representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the information’s accuracy or completeness, nor should the attached information serve as the basis of any investment decision. This document is not to be reproduced or redistributed to any other person. The information set forth herein has been provided to you as secondary information and should not be the primary source for any investment or allocation decision. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. 

This material is not research and should not be treated as research. This paper does not represent valuation judgments with respect to any financial instrument, issuer, security or sector that may be described or referenced herein and does not represent a formal or official view of AQR. The views expressed reflect the current views as of the date hereof and neither the author nor AQR undertakes to advise you of any changes in the views expressed herein. 

The information contained herein is only as current as of the date indicated, and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons. Charts and graphs provided herein are for illustrative purposes only. The information in this presentation has been developed internally and/or obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, neither AQR nor the author guarantees the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of such information. Nothing contained herein constitutes investment, legal, tax or other advice nor is it to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. There can be no assurance that an investment strategy will be successful. Historic market trends are not reliable indicators of actual future market behavior or future performance of any particular investment which may differ materially, and should not be relied upon as such. 

The information in this paper may contain projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events, targets, forecasts or expectations regarding the strategies described herein, and is only current as of the date indicated. There is no assurance that such events or targets will be achieved, and may be significantly different from that shown here. The information in this document, including statements concerning financial market trends, is based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons.