EPS-Sensitivity and Mergers

Sudipto Dasgupta, Jarrad Harford, and Fangyuan Ma

Announcements of mergers very often discuss the immediate impact of the deal on the acquirer’s earnings per share (EPS). We argue that the focus on EPS reflects the difficulty of evaluating and communicating deal synergy in M&A practice, and provide supporting evidence. We show that the acquirer’s EPS focus affects how deals are structured, the premium that is paid, and the types of deals that are done. EPS-driven M&A decisions are also associated with costly distortions in the acquirer’s financial and investment policies.