• G21;
  • G34
  • acquisitions;
  • mergers;
  • banking

This paper uses a large sample of individual banking organizations, observed from 1996 to 2005, to investigate the characteristics that made them more likely to be acquired. We use a definition of acquisition that we consider preferable to that used in much of the previous literature, and we employ a competing-risk hazard model that reveals important differences that depend on the type of acquirer. Since interstate acquisitions became more numerous during this period, we also investigate differences in the determinants of acquisition between in-state and out-of-state acquirers. We also employ a subsample of publicly traded banking organizations to investigate the role of managerial ownership in explaining the likelihood of acquisition. The hypothesis that acquisitions serve to transfer resources from less efficient to more efficient uses receives substantial support from our results, as do a number of other relevant hypotheses.