Academic studies on characteristics of targets and takeover likelihood are abundant, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom as compared to studies in other European markets. Among other things, this is due to the importance of the operations that have been taking place in the US market since the early 20th century. In the European market, numbers and value of takeover deals only began to grow towards the end of the last century. Our study leads on from this observation.

Takeover bids are increasing in masses and in waves. As they involve financial and human resources, they constitute both a strategic and an uncertain challenge. However, these operations raise a number of questions on economic efficiency because reality shows that it is difficult for companies to improve the performance of the new entity. In this regard, the obvious question is: why do leaders engage in takeover bids? What are their real motives? We tested several hypotheses in order to answer this question. To test the hypotheses, we analyzed the economic and financial characteristics of takeover targets.

Concerning the characteristics of takeover targets, the results of previous empirical studies confirmed several implicit motives: the free cash flow theory [JEN 86], the theory of undervaluation of target [MAR 64, HAS 85], the hubris hypothesis of disciplinary motive [MAN 64] and motive linked to the achievement of synergies [AMB 92]. These last two motives appear to be the most significant ...

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