Document Type

Article

Publication Source

Journal of Bonds and Derivatives

Abstract

In this paper we focus on acquisitions of bankrupt firms and firms that recently emerged from Chapter 11 and compare these firms with acquired distressed firms to determine whether or not transaction timing plays a role in the outcomes of the mergers. We analyze deal premiums (or lack thereof) and evaluate post-merger operating cash flows to determine whether or not timing of the transactions impacts their effectiveness and success. We also evaluate targets and their acquirers’ stock price reactions to the announcements of acquisitions. We find that distressed targets sell their assets at a premium or at a discount smaller than bankrupt firms do, thereby benefiting from acquisitions more than bankrupt targets—and the announcement day abnormal returns are reflective of the disparity of these purchases with bankrupt firms having significant negative abnormal returns and distressed firms having significant positive announcement day abnormal returns and acquirers of both having material announcement day abnormal returns. We also find that abnormal post-merger cash flow and cumulative abnormal return changes are more pronounced for bankrupt than distressed firms, indicating that acquisitions in Chapter 11 add greater economic value for both target and its acquirer than do acquisitions outside of bankruptcy. We also find post-merger market performance improvements for bankrupt and not distressed firms. In summary, distressed firms get a merger announcement premium and bankrupt firms give it away to their acquirers whose shareholders benefit from acquisition premiums in a year after the mergers.

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