Institutional blockholder networks and corporate acquisition performance
We examine 17,207 U.S. mergers and acquisitions by public firms over the 1980–2019 period and find that the acquirer abnormal announcement returns are higher for firms held by more central investors in the network of active institutional blockholdings. This finding is robust to firm and deal characteristics, and it also extends to alternative network and return measures. To provide evidence on causality, we exploit extreme industry returns that lead to plausibly exogenous variation in investors’ monitoring ability. The positive effect of blockholder centrality on acquirer abnormal announcement returns only exists in information-sensitive (i.e., private) deals and only among institutions that have a comparative advantage in exploiting monitoring information. Our findings suggests that institutional investors obtain an information advantage through the network, which increases their monitoring ability.