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Working paper

THE ANCHORING EFFECT IN MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS: EVIDENCE FROM AN EMERGING MARKET

Stepanova A. N., Malika Shaikhutdinova, Vladislav Savelyev.
This article examines the presence of the reference price effect in mergers and acquisitions in Russia, which can act as a distortion in investor perception of the influence a deal has on a company. In this study we use the Russian market as a laboratory for the investigation of behavioral effects in a relatively inefficient market. We find a relationship between the acquirer’s announcement period return and the proximity of its pre-announcement share price to the 52-week high. The 52-week high serves as a salient anchor even though it is economically irrelevant for valuation purposes. This effect appears to be stronger for deals associated with higher levels of uncertainty. The findings confirm the presence of the anchoring bias in evaluating the effect of a merger or acquisition announcement by Russian investors. We demonstrate a significant anchoring effect even for deals with a blocking (>10%) or a controlling stake (>25%) in an emerging market with a highly concentrated ownership.