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Market Concentration and Bank M&As: Evidence from the European Sovereign Debt Crisis

Using a sample of 312 bank M&As announced between 1998 and 2016 in the EU-27 countries, this paper investigates the impact of market concentration and the European sovereign debt crisis on the way investors react to these corporate events. In Western European countries, we find results which contrast the conventional wisdom that acquiring banks lose around the merger announcement date. In fact, since 2009, acquiring banks shareholders gain approximately $34 million around the announcement, a $56 million improvement compared to the pre-crisis period. These documented shareholder gains are also accompanied by significant improvements in post-merger profitability. Markedly, we link this superior performance of the post-2008 acquirers with the degree of market concentration in the Western European region. Finally, results for the Eastern European countries indicate that the crisis did not have a significant impact on the quality of bank M&As in the region.