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Keywords:

  • acquisitions;
  • target status;
  • managerial motives;
  • excess returns;
  • mode of payment
  • G34

Abstract

Takeovers of privately held companies represent more than 80% of all takeovers. Despite their significance, studies of such takeovers and their impact on the wealth of shareholders are rare. Using a very large, near exhaustive, sample of listed and privately held UK targets we examine the impact of such takeovers on the risk adjusted return of listed UK acquirers over the period 1981 to 2001. Acquirers earn significant positive returns during the period surrounding the bid announcement although the gains are dependent on target status, mode of payment, and the relative size of those involved. The much quoted conclusion, derived from the experiences of listed firm bidders that the shareholders of acquiring firms fail to gain from takeovers, cannot be generalised. Acquiring a privately held company is an attractive option for maximising shareholder wealth.