Facilitation of Competing Bids and the Price of a Takeover Target

David Hirshleifer and Ivan P. L. Png

Review of Financial Studies, October 1989


We present a model of corporate acquisitions in which initially uninformed bidders must incur costs to learn their (independent) valuations of a potential takeover target. The first bidder makes either a preemptive bid that will deter the second bidder from investigating or a lower bid that will induce the second bidder to investigate and possibly compete. We show that the expected price of the target may be higher when the first bidder makes a deterring bid than when there is competitive bidding. Hence, by weakening the first bidder’s incentive to choose a preemptive bid, regulatory and management policies to assist competing bidders may reduce both the expected takeover price and social welfare.

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