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Asset restructuring strategies in bank acquisitions: Does distance between dealing partners matter?

Pietro Alessandrini (), Giorgio Calcagnini () and Alberto Zazzaro ()

Journal of Banking & Finance, 2008, vol. 32, issue 5, 699-713

Abstract: One of the most lively-debated effects of banking acquisitions is the change in lending and asset allocation of the target bank in favour of transaction-based products, at the expense of small and informationally opaque borrowers. These changes may be the result of two distinct restructuring strategies pursued by the acquirer with respect to the asset portfolio of the acquired bank: a cleaning strategy (CS), in which the acquirer makes a clean sweep of all the negative net present value activities in the portfolio of the acquired bank, and a portfolio strategy (PS), in which the acquiring bank permanently changes the portfolio allocation of the acquired bank. In this paper we focus on Italian bank acquisitions and test which asset restructuring strategy was predominantly pursued over the period 1997-2003. Moreover, we distinguish acquisitions according to their geographic diversifying character and to the physical and cultural distances that separate acquiring from acquired banks. When we look at the mean value, we do not find clear evidence of a primacy either of CSs or PSs. When we separate in-market from out-of-market bank acquisitions, however, results show that the CSs prevail only in the former type of deals, while in the latter the portfolio of acquired banks is subject to PSs. Finally, we find that differences in asset restructuring strategies can be explained by differences in corporate culture and the workplace environment of the dealing partners.

Date: 2008
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