Do early birds get the returns? An empirical investigation of early-mover advantages in acquisitions

  • Carow K
  • Heron R
  • Saxton T
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We explore whether pioneering advantages exist for early-mover acquirers in industry acquisition waves by examining both combined (target and acquirer) and acquirer stock returns. Combined abnormal returns are higher for acquisitions that occur at the beginning of acquisition waves. However, for acquirers’ returns, only strategic pioneers—those acting in manners consistent with having superior information—capture significant advantages. Specifically, early-mover acquirers who realize superior stock returns are those that conduct acquisitions in related industries, during industry expansionary phases, and finance their acquisitions as financial theory suggests they should when they possess an informational advantage—with cash. Our findings extend the first-mover literature to corporate practices and link these practices to acquisition returns

Author-supplied keywords

  • Acquisitions
  • First-mover advantage
  • Market returns
  • Resource-based view

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  • Kenneth Carow

  • Randall Heron

  • Todd Saxton

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