This study investigates acquisition antecedents during China's transition from a planned to a market-based economic system. Because of contextual realities such as a lack of freely tradable targets for buyers, the seller's willingness to sell is critical for acquisition occurrence in transition economies. We therefore take the seller's perspective and examine factors underlying firms' willingness to sell. We posit that selling is a decision based on the evaluation of a firm's prospects determined by its embeddedness within the planned system, organizational changes it undertook during the transition, and its ability to adjust its strategy according to the evolving strengths of the planning and marketing institutions. Data from the Chinese beer industry from 1995 to 2004 show that acquisition likelihood is high for firms founded as SOEs, low for firms having attracted more private investment or undertaken multiple changes, and has a U-shaped relationship with firms' relative investment in marketing resources.