Information Asymmetry and Host Country Institutions in Cross-Border Acquisitions


Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are often dubbed as a market for lemons because of the extent of information asymmetry embedded in M&A transactions. A country’s institutional environment influences the quality and overall reliability of formal disclosures, thereby altering the extent of information asymmetry affiliated with an M&A transaction. We argue that the caliber of the host country's institutions—formal market-supporting institutions and the informal cultural institution of uncertainty avoidance—affects the public arbitration phase of M&A transactions, i.e., the phase in which firms attempt to resolve issues related to information asymmetry. We test our hypotheses using a sample of 3376 foreign acquisitions completed by U.S. firms between 2006 and 2016. Our results indicate that formal institutions lower arbitration duration. But, while high uncertainty avoidance lowers duration as expected for countries with low market-supporting institutions, it more strongly raises the duration for countries with high market-supporting institutions.

Publication Title

Management International Review