Considerable effort has been devoted to indicate the critical determinants of acquisition premiums. However, the determinants of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) premiums are not yet fully understood. This research paper empirically examines the effect of stock return volatility on mergers and acquisitions premiums through real options value of bidder and target firms. With a sample of 2,559 completed M&A deals in the US during 1986-2016, we find that bidder firms tend to pay more premiums for the targets that have more future real option value and higher risk. To be more specific, when targets have more real options measured as high Research and Development (R&D) to market value, high sales growth rate, and low leverage ratio, the relationship between target return volatility and acquisition premiums is stronger. This study contributes not only to the literature regarding the determinants of mergers and acquisitions premiums but also to the literature of real options value.
Keywords: Mergers and acquisition premiums, acquisition premiums, stock return
volatility, real options, growth options