Technological Similarity, Post-acquisition R&D Reorganization, and Innovation Performance in Horizontal Acquisition

Massimo G. Colombo, Larissa Rabbiosi

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This paper aims to disentangle the mechanisms through which technological similarity between acquiring and acquired firms influences innovation in horizontal acquisitions. We develop a theoretical model that links technological similarity to: (i) two key aspects of post-acquisition reorganization of acquired R&D operations – the rationalization of the R&D operations and the replacement of the R&D top manager, and (ii) two intermediate effects that are closely associated with the post-acquisition innovation performance of the combined firm – improvements in R&D productivity and disruptions in R&D personnel. We rely on PLS techniques to test our theoretical model using detailed information on 31 horizontal acquisitions in high- and medium-tech industries. Our results indicate that in horizontal acquisitions, technological similarity negatively affects post-acquisition innovation performance and that this negative effect is not mediated by the reorganization of the acquired R&D operations. However, replacing the acquired firm's R&D top manager leads to R&D productivity improvements that positively affect innovation performanc
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalResearch Policy
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)1039–1054
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Cite this