Abstract

This paper considers the impact of the takeover likelihood on firm valuation. If firms are more likely to acquire when there is more free cash or lower required rates of return, the targets become more sensitive to shocks to cash flows or the price of risk. Ceteris paribus, firms exposed to takeovers have different rates of return than protected firms. Using takeover likelihood estimates, we create a “takeover factor,” buying (selling) firms with a high (low) takeover likelihood, which generates “abnormal” returns. Several tests confirm that the takeover factor helps explaining cross-sectional differences in equity returns and is related to takeover activity.

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