Better Sorry Than Safe? : An evaluation of Scandinavian acquirers participating in European mergers and acquisitions between 2010-2017
Abstract: Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are a popular way of growing a company. This is challenged by previous research that shows that an M&A-transaction generally harms the financial key metrics of the acquiring company. The main focus of this report is to examine if there is an effect on financial ratios for Scandinavian companies partaking in an M&A as an acquirer. The effect is captured by the movements in the key metrics return on equity (ROE), return on assets (ROA), return on invested capital (ROIC), EBIT-margin. In addition, both ESG-ranking and underlying non-financial values, like if the deal was domestic or not, the age of the executives and board gender diversity, are looked at for a better understanding of what differences there are between the performance of M&As. A database of Scandinavian companies acting within Europe was created containing the specific deal characteristics over a period of three years prior as well as three years after the deal. The statistical methods used to analyze this data were Wilcoxon signed-rank test, bivariate Pearson Correlation and Independent Samples t-test. The generated results in the aggregated dataset showed a negative performance of ROE and ROIC in the period after the deal, compared to the period prior to the deal. This result was also seen in the sub-set of foreign deals with an additional negative performance of ROA for the acquirer while the sub-set of domestic deals did not show any significant negative performance in the period after the deal. We found that it was not possible to analyze the post-period effect on ESG-ranking as the data for our included companies was too scarce. Our findings suggest, when looking at our certain key metrics, that M&A-transactions are not economically justified and that executives might be partially motivated by something other than economic performance when deciding upon an M&A. It is furthermore possible to conclude that the disclosing of ESG data has not been a priority for companies in the past and continues to be ignored by the masses which makes it difficult to progress academically in this field.
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