Cross-border bank mergers: What lures the rare animal?

Although domestic mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the financial services industry have increased steadily over the past two decades, international M&As were until recently relatively rare. Moreover, the share of cross-border mergers in the banking industry is low compared with other industries. This paper uses a novel dataset of over 3000 mergers that took place between 1985 and 2001 to analyze the determinants of international bank mergers. We test the extent to which information costs and regulations hold back merger activity. Our results suggest that information costs significantly impede cross-border bank mergers. Regulations also influence cross-border bank merger activity. Hence, policy makers can create environments that encourage cross-border activity, but information cost barriers must be overcome even in (legally) integrated markets.

15. September 2004

Authors Claudia M. Buch G. DeLong

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