We use data from the past 30 years of takeover activity in the U.S. banking industry to test competing neoclassical and misvaluation merger theories. Test results are consistent with evidence in the literature that merger activity is significantly related to both structural industry change and stock price misvaluation. Our primary contribution is to show that changes in misvaluation reflect a rise in industry-wide risk taking and that increases in risk originate from changes in industry structure due to deregulation. A measure of bank risk taking subsumes the power of stock price misvaluation to explain subsequent merger activity.
Politics can interfere with capital markets. We show that political interference is a necessary condition for local bias in the stock market. We extend the framework of Hong, Kubik and Stein (2008) and find that the inverse relation between market‐to‐book ratios and the ratio of the aggregate book value of firms to the aggregate risk tolerance of investors in a state (RATIO) is only prevalent among firms located in areas where politics has substantial influence on local markets. Our results indicate that the impact of politically induced local bias is primarily demand driven and stronger among firms that are less visible.
We find that institutions trade in the same direction as target price changes based on 6,415 U.S. firms from 1999 to 2011, even after controlling changes in stock recommendations and earnings forecasts. The impact of target price changes on institutional trading is more pronounced for small firms, firms followed by few analysts, and illiquid firms, and is mainly limited to transient institutions. We do not find any outperformance for institutions to follow analysts’ target price forecasts, suggesting that institutions could find it easier to justify their investment decisions by following analyst forecasts, although such trading does not result in outperformance.