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Foreign market entry through acquisition and firm financial performance: Empirical evidence from Ghana

Andrews Adugudaa Akolaa (Department of Marketing, University of Professional Studies Accra, Accra, Ghana)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 29 November 2018

640

Abstract

Purpose

The international market entry strategy by acquisition is one of the critical options for success in international business. The decision to acquire a local firm is expected to impact the post-entry financial performance of the local firm as the acquirers come with proprietary advantages to improve the overall performance of the acquired company. The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the post-acquisition financial performance of acquired foreign subsidiaries and comparable unacquired local firms in Ghana to determine the effect of foreign acquisition on the financial performance of the local subsidiaries.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative approach was adopted in this study. A sample of 100 locally acquired and non-acquired firms were studied using purposive and convenience sampling method. The research adopted the propensity score matching and the differences in difference methodologies to determine the returns on assets (ROA) of non-acquired local firms and acquired foreign subsidiaries are compared one year pre-acquisition t1 to two years post-acquisition t2.

Findings

The results demonstrate a higher post-acquisition financial performance of locally acquired foreign subsidiaries in relation to their local counterparts in Ghana. Firms with pre-acquisition modernized ownership structures performed better than state-owned firms and firms with high pre-acquisition absorptive capacity outperformed firms with lower pre-acquisition absorptive capacity. The results also indicate that ROA for acquired local firms in the year of acquisition drops in relation to the year prior to acquisition

Research limitations/implications

A major limitation of this research is that the relative capability of the parent companies and experience in the transfer of knowledge to the acquired local subsidiaries was not considered. The real impact of the various multinationals would have revealed how the capability and competencies of the different parent companies whose subsidiaries this study considered in the paper make a difference in their performance. The study did not also consider the value of parent company participation in the local management of the acquired subsidiaries. Whereas some acquired firms had parent company staff participating in the local management, others did not have same, thus challenging the performance results without any control of this variable. The other limitation of this research is the fact that it did not also consider the experience of the parent company as a factor that can influence the performance of the subsidiary. The more experienced the parent company is in engaging foreign markets, the more likely the support for the subsidiary will result in higher performance as parent company brings previous learnings. Another limitation of this study is that it measures the financials only (ROA) and hence does not provide a 360° assessment of the subsidiary performance, which includes the operational and overall subsidiary effectiveness. This research has not empirically examined all aspects of foreign acquisitions in Ghana and thus has many aspects for future exploration that other researchers may focus on. The paper has not considered the experience and capability of the parent company to transfer technology, innovation and all the advantages of multinationals to the post-acquisition performance of subsidiaries. More experienced multinationals are most likely to transfer knowledge faster to subsidiaries than less experienced ones, thus likely to show better performance post-acquisition than the less experienced ones. The effect of this phenomenon has not been considered in this study. Parent company participation in the local management of the subsidiary can also make a difference in the post-acquisition performance equation but this has not been considered in this research. Some parent companies actively participate in the local subsidiary management as management support for the subsidiary. This might have some effect on the subsidiary post-acquisition performance but this study does consider this. Other researchers may want to look into this factor. Future researchers may also assess the differences in performance of subsidiaries that are wholly owned and partial owned in Ghana. The performance of Greenfield joint ventures and local firm acquisitions can also be studied.

Practical implications

Findings of this research has implications for firms using acquisition as foreign market entry strategy to inform the choice of local partners to select for acquisitions as pre-acquisition ownership structure and absorptive capacity of local Ghanaian firms impact post-acquisitions performance. Ghanaian firms also seeking to attract foreign investments into their businesses will also find the results useful as they organize to meet prospective acquirers’ expectations, for example, building their human capacity and ownership structures, developing export and ensuring debt rations to attract potential acquirers.

Originality/value

Acquisitions as an international market entry strategy continue to gain grounds with lots of research in the area. However, there is scanty research on post-acquisition financial performance, especially in the developing country context, and this paper fills that yawning knowledge gap by comparing acquired and non-acquired local firms in Ghana to determine if foreign acquisitions lead to better ROA.

Keywords

Citation

Akolaa, A.A. (2018), "Foreign market entry through acquisition and firm financial performance: Empirical evidence from Ghana", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 1348-1371. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJoEM-05-2017-0162

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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