Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics

No 06-8: Mergers of Equals & Unequals

Valérie Smeets (), Kathryn Ierulli () and Michael Gibbs ()
Additional contact information
Valérie Smeets: Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Center for Corporate Performance, The Aarhus School of Business, Prismet, Silkeborgvej 2, DK 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Kathryn Ierulli: Graduate School of Business, Postal: University of Chicago
Michael Gibbs: Graduate School of Business, Postal: University of Chicago

Abstract: We examine the organizational dynamics of integration post merger. Our basic question is whether there is evidence of conflict between employees from the two merging firms. Such conflict can arise for several reasons, including firm-specific human capital, corporate culture, power, or favoritism. We examine this issue using a sample of Danish mergers. The results are consistent with the basic hypothesis. Controlling for other effects, employees from the acquirer fare better than employees from the acquired firm, suggesting that they have greater power in the newly merged hierarchy. As a separate effect, the more that either firm dominates the other in terms of number of employees, the better do its employees fare compared to employees from the other firm. This suggests that majority / minority status is also important to assimilation of workers, much as in ethnic conflicts. Finally, greater overlap of operations decreases turnover. This finding is inconsistent with the view that workers of the two firms may be better substitutes for each other. However, the result and our other findings are consistent with the view that more similar workers (in terms of either firm- or industry-specific human capital) are easier to integrate post merger

Keywords: Mergers; internal organization; conflicts; personnel economics

JEL-codes: G34; J63; M14

36 pages, January 1, 2006

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