Corporate Asset Purchases and Sales

27 August 2007 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

| Peter Klein |

There’s a huge literature on mergers and sell-offs (see this excellent, if slightly dated, survey) but less work on the purchase and sale of corporate assets short of full acquisition or divestiture. Studying asset purchases and sales is a good way to learn about firms’ growth and retrenchment strategies because these transactions are not complicated by issues of corporate control.

Missaka Warusawitharana, a recent Wharton PhD now at the Federal Reserve Board, is doing interesting work in this area. In a forthcoming Journal of Finance paper he finds strong evidence that efficiency, not agency, considerations drive most asset purchases and sales. This contrasts with the M&A literature, in which the evidence on investment efficiency is mixed. A companion paper (with Sugata Ray) compares the sensitivity of acquisition returns to transaction value for both asset purchases and full acquisitions, finding evidence for value creation when corporate assets are purchased but not when an entire firm is acquired.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Strategic Management, Theory of the Firm.

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