Returns to acquirers of listed and unlisted targets: an empirical study of Australian bidders

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Studies in Economics and Finance, 2017, 34 (1), pp. 24 - 48
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© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: This paper aims to evaluate the robustness of the listing effect in Australia, that is whether acquisitions of private firms create more value to the bidding firm’s shareholders than acquisitions of publicly listed firms. Design/methodology/approach: The authors analyze the market reaction to the announcement of takeover bids initiated by Australian public firms on private and public targets over the period 1990-2011. The analysis controls for a wide range of bidder, deal and target country characteristics that are likely to correlate with the target’s listing status and acquirer abnormal returns. The authors also use a selection model to address the endogenous choice of the target’s listing status. Findings: The results indicate that bidders experience significantly higher abnormal returns of about 1.7 per cent in the 11-day event window when the target is a private firm. The authors show that this result is broad-based and persistent. It does not appear to depend on whether the target is small or large; whether it is related or unrelated to the bidder’s industry; whether it is in the resources sector; and whether the transaction is domestic or cross-border. They find some evidence that bidder returns might be stronger for larger acquisitions, for unrelated targets, and in poor market conditions such as in the wake of the recent global financial crisis. Research limitations/implications: The research would benefit from the inclusion of the bidding firm’s ownership and governance characteristics. Practical implications: The results support the view that market frictions contribute to make private firms attractive targets. Originality/value: The analysis confirms the pervasiveness of the listing effect in a market characterized by a lesser degree of competition, higher search costs and the significance of the natural resources sector.
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