Accounting disclosure quality and synergy gains: Evidence from cross-border mergers and acquisitions
Eiler, Lisa Ann
In this dissertation, I investigate how cross-country differences in regulatory environments affect the value and distribution of gains in cross-border acquisitions. I focus on how pre-acquisition strategies to reduce the valuation discount arising from weak regulatory environments affect the value and distribution of gains between acquiring and target firms. The two specific strategies I examine are cross-listing and voluntarily adopting International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). I compare the value and distribution of synergy gains for target firms from weak regulatory environments that have cross-listed or adopted IFRS (i.e., "strategic firms") to (1) target firms in similar countries that have not done so (i.e., "non-strategic firms") and (2) target firms in strong regulatory environment countries. For the first group, I expect lower total synergy gains and merger premia in acquisitions involving strategic target firms. However, I expect higher total valuation gains (i.e., the merger premium plus the increase in value from the strategy) for strategic firms. For the second comparison group, I expect higher total synergy gains and merger premia in acquisitions involving strategic firms relative to firms from strong regulatory environments. I test my predictions on a sample of cross-border acquisitions completed in 26 countries between 1995-2007. In acquisitions involving target firms from weak regulatory environments, I find no evidence that either the total synergy gain or merger premium are smaller for strategic firms. In fact, I find some evidence that the total synergy gains are higher for strategic firms relative to non-strategic firms. I find some evidence of higher total valuation gains for cross-listed firms, consistent with my hypothesis. For the second comparison group, I find no evidence that either the total synergy gain or merger premium are higher for strategic firms. By examining cross-border acquisitions, my research provides evidence on an increasingly important and economically significant type of foreign direct investment. I relate literature investigating the determinants and distribution of merger synergies to literature analyzing methods to eliminate cross-country valuation discounts. Therefore, my research makes an important contribution by providing insights beyond identifying which party captures synergy gains in cross-border acquisitions.