On This PageWP 2006-14

Eat or Be Eaten: A Theory of Mergers and Firm Size
Last Updated: 06/30/06
We propose a theory of mergers that combines managerial merger motives and a regime shift that may lead to some value-increasing merger opportunities. Anticipation of the regime shift can lead to mergers, either for defensive or positioning reasons. Defensive mergers occur when managers acquire other firms to avoid being acquired themselves. Mergers may also allow a firm to position itself as a more attractive takeover target and earn a takeover premium. The identity of acquirers and targets and the profitability of acquisitions depend, among other factors, on the distribution of firm sizes within an industry.