In this series, three key axioms—stockholder wealth maximization, the risk-return tradeoff, and agency conflicts—are applied to the major topics in financial management. The current article looks at mergers and acquisitions, reviewing the presumed motivations, the ethical challenges, and the literature dedicated to this financial activity.
The most recent financial crisis has spurred a number of mergers and acquisitions in the financial industry, specifically banks. This study examines the hypothesis that mergers and acquisitions did not produce better performing institutions and industries during the 2006 to 2008 period. Data were compiled for six accounting-based ratios for 105 firms directly involved in mergers or acquisitions during this period. An empirical comparison of both firm-to-firm and firm-to-industry performance shows that firms did not benefit from the mergers for the majority of ratios tested. On the whole, these results reveal the inefficiencies of mergers and acquisitions, supporting the hypothesis of this study.