From Competition to Cartel: Bank Mergers in the U.K. 1885 to 1925

with Fabio Braggion and Lyndon Moore.

We study the effects of bank mergers and acquisitions in the U.K from 1885 to 1925. The lack of a regulatory authority and the confidential nature of merger negotiations allows us to precisely measure the wealth effects of M&As in a laissez-faire environment. We find positive wealth effects for bidders (0.7%-1%) and targets (6.7%-8%) over the announcement month. When takeovers took place in a competitive environment wealth creation appears to be related to efficiency gains. As competition decreased, gains to shareholders appear to be related to increased oligopoly power. In a less competitve environment, banks tended to reduce the amount of loans and increase their holdings of safe marketable securities. Banks with higher charter value displayed higher capital ratios.

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