The Importance of Industry Links in Merger Waves

Posted On November 22, 2017

February 5, 2010 – February 5, 2010


RCB 1200 - from 2:00 - 3:30

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Prior research finds that economic shocks lead to merger waves within an industry. However, industries do not exist in isolation. In this paper, we argue that both intra- and inter-industry merger waves are driven by customer-supplier relations between industries. To test our theory, we construct an industry network using techniques from the social-networking literature, where inter-industry connections are determined by the strength of supplier and customer relations. First, we find that the strength of industry network ties strongly predicts inter-industry merger activity in the cross-section. Second, we show that merger waves propagate across the industry network over time: high levels of merger activity in an industry lead to subsequently high levels of activity in connected industries. By using a network approach, we provide new insight into understanding why mergers occur in waves.