NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effects of Taxation on the Merger Decision

Alan J. Auerbach, David Reishus

NBER Working Paper No. 2192 (Also Reprint No. r1396)
Issued in March 1987
NBER Program(s):   PE

This paper presents estimates of the tax benefits generated by a sample of U.S. mergers and acquisitions involving two public corporations over the period 1968-83 and estimates a "marriage model" based on differences between these mergers and another sample of "pseudomergers" that did not occur to determine the impact of these tax benefits on the probability of two firms combining. Our findings reject the hypothesis that leverage played a large role in fostering these transactions, and that the tax losses and credits of acquired firms likewise exerted no impact on merger activity. Though the use of such benefits by acquiring firms to shield profits of other firms did increase the level of activity, the impact was quite small. On the whole, our results suggest that the changes in tax provisions with respect to mergers introduced by the Tax Reform Act of 1986 will have a small impact on U.S. mergers and acquisitions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2192

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