Access to unique knowledge of a target firm is the strategic rationale for many firm acquisitions with the expectation of improving the acquirer's innovation performance. We argue that the acquisition price reflects opportunities for value creation through innovation and investigate whether acquirers pay not just for the target firm's knowledge but also for the opportunity to access localized knowledge when targets are embedded in the knowledge flows of their region. Accordingly, we integrate embeddedness theory with literature on the expectations for knowledge-based value creation in M&A. We hypothesize that target firms that are highly embedded in local knowledge flows have higher acquisition prices. Using data on 520 technology-oriented firm acquisitions in Europe between 2001 and 2010, we find that the acquisition price increases with the target firm's local embeddedness. The effects are weaker when an acquirer's knowledge base is closely related to the localized knowledge and stronger when the target's knowledge base is closely related to the localized knowledge, suggesting that local embeddedness conditions the ability of acquirer and target to absorb localized knowledge.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 20 March 2023.
- Firm acquisitions
- Local embeddedness
- Localized knowledge
- Knowledge relatedness