Bidding Wars and the Efficiency of Market Announcement Effects

Edward K J Leathers, Claremont McKenna College


Many studies have been performed on the short- and long-run abnormal returns to acquirers in acquisition attempts, but the topic of bidding wars is relatively unexplored. This piece performs an in-depth analysis of daily returns to both the public winners and losers in bidding war situations. It provides a counterargument to earlier findings that found that winners in bidding wars performed poorly compared to losers. I also fill in the gap in the analysis of short-term returns to paired winners and losers during and surrounding the bidding war. I find that winners perform significantly better than losers during certain critical periods in the bidding war, and this appears to signal the increased likelihood of the winner’s success. However, in the short-term, the market consistently misjudges the direction of the long-run benefits of the acquisition to the winner.