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Empirical legal studies

Cornell University Law School

Business Organizations Law

2005

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The Fate Of Firms: Explaining Mergers And Bankruptcies, Clas Bergström, Theodore Eisenberg, Stefan Sundgren, Martin T. Wells Mar 2005

The Fate Of Firms: Explaining Mergers And Bankruptcies, Clas Bergström, Theodore Eisenberg, Stefan Sundgren, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Using a uniquely complete data set of more than 50,000 observations of approximately 16,000 corporations, we test theories that seek to explain which firms become merger targets and which firms go bankrupt. We find that merger activity is much greater during prosperous periods than during recessions. In bad economic times, firms in industries with high bankruptcy rates are less likely to file for bankruptcy than they are in better years, supporting the market illiquidity arguments made by Shleifer and Vishny (1992). At the firm level, we find that, among poorly performing firms, the likelihood of merger increases with poorer performance, …