In M&A markets, acquirers face a hold-up problem of losing the value of investments they make in due diligence, negotiations, and post-acquisition planning if targets would pursue the options of waiting for better offers or selling to an alternative bidder. This chapter extends information economics to the literature on M&A contracting by arguing that such contracting problems are more likely to occur for targets with better outside options created by the information available on their resources and prospects. We also argue that acquirers address these contracting problems by using termination payment provisions to safeguard their investments. While previous research in corporate strategy and finance has suggested that certain factors can facilitate an acquisition by reducing a focal acquirer’s risk of adverse selection (e.g., signals, certifications), we note that these same factors can make the target attractive to other potential bidders and can exacerbate the risk of hold-up, thereby leading acquirers to use termination payment provisions as contractual safeguards.
Wu, C. and Reuer, J. (2014), "Termination Payment Provisions in Acquisitions: An Information Economics Perspective", Finance and Strategy (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 31), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 69-102. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0742-332220140000031002Download as .RIS
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