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Testing Post M&A Innovation and Share Price Performance in Chinese MNEs: Implications for Emerging Market MNE Theorizing

HU, ZHEYUAN (2022) Testing Post M&A Innovation and Share Price Performance in Chinese MNEs: Implications for Emerging Market MNE Theorizing. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 14 February 2025.


The initial primary motivation driving this research was to test empirical evidence relating to the ‘catch up’ assumption of EMNEs’ strategic asset seeking outwards FDI activities, as per (for example) Luo and Tung (2007)’s springboard perspective and Mathews (2006a)’s LLL model. Specifically, researchers still know very little about whether EMNEs fulfil their firm-level catch-up purposes in terms of post-acquisition innovation performance and how these firms can absorb acquired technologies and other strategic assets, thus leading to acquiring firms’ improvement of innovation performance from a combination of resource-based and knowledge-based view with special attention to the impact of home country effects. While it is argued MNEs from emerging markets acquire strategic assets by conducting cross-border M&As with a
view to strengthening their domestic innovation capacity, this presents a paradox, as EMNEs are often considered to lack both the knowledge, resources and absorptive capacity to integrate and exploit such acquisitions by engaging in reverse knowledge transfer. In this thesis, the first part applies resource and knowledge-based views to consider, in particular, how domestic market business group affiliation, prior international experience and state-ownership affect these domestic innovation outcomes. At a theoretical level, factors such as business group affiliation have been considered important and potentially distinguishing characteristics that may make emerging market MNEs somewhat different to developed market MNEs. Empirically, this study applies the propensity score matching (PSM) and difference-in-difference (DID) methods on a sample of 99 international strategic asset seeking motivation M&A deals, plus a control group of 1686 firms. The first section does find evidence of positive impacts of SAS CM&A on patent counts and citations. This first paper also finds firms with international experience and affiliated with business groups perform better, and privately-owned firms outperform state-owned firms in terms of quality of innovation outputs (i.e., patent citations). Application of resource and knowledge-based perspectives helps shed further light on the types of MNEs from emerging markets that may successfully undertake strategic asset seeking acquisitions that may lead to firm-level catch-up.
Further, as an additional study and component of this thesis, the second paper explores another question related to Chinese MNE expansion. During the research process a separate but related phenomenon caught the author’s attention. When looking at the sample of CM&As, some of the international deals of CMNEs were found to be in unrelated industries. For example, Fosun Group acquired a travel group (Club Med),
Wanda Group acquired a yacht maker (Sunseeker), while Midea Group acquired an unrelated leader in robotics (Kuka, from Germany). In these cases, the target firms had little relation, in terms of product market characteristics, with the acquiring groups activities. The technology gap between developing and developed market firms is significant and such unrelated product/technologies would make such deals seem even more complicated and difficult to undertake successfully. Indeed, the dominant trend within DMNEs has been moving in the opposite direction: internationally ‘horizontal’ deals within the same sectors are a growing trait of DMNE internationalization. This has created greater focus on ‘core competencies’ (UNCTAD, 2013). International divestments of unrelated business, moreover, have led to the dismantling of the remaining iconic Western conglomerates. Siemens and General Electric, for example, as well as lesser-known examples like Maersk, are rapidly shedding non-core businesses (Gapper, 2017). In a second study of this thesis, the author uses event study and buy and hold abnormal return (BHAR) methodology to explore stock market reactions to the international acquisition of unrelated businesses. Interestingly, the results show unrelated international diversification deals perform better than related ones in the long-term but worse in the short-term. Such performance, moreover, is positively modified by diversified business group affiliation and especially in those groups that have R&D capabilities, and mostly magnified when the acquiring firms are affiliated with diversified business groups and at the same time have a strategic-asset-seeking (SAS) motivation. Thus, suggesting that the nature of diversified business group and the SAS motivation play an important role in the success or otherwise of Chinese unrelated international deals.
In sum, this thesis uses several established methodologies to explore some novel questions that are central to better understanding EMNEs (and Chinese MNEs in particular). In doing so, the thesis contributes to better understanding new theories of emerging market MNE by showing that Chinese MNEs are able to derive benefit from international deals. This suggests that they are able to ‘catch up’, as stated by Luo and Tung (2007), by acquiring strategic assets in foreign, often developed markets. Being affiliated to a business group supports firms with valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable (VRIN) resources and may provide an excellent environment for organizational learning. Prior international experience, moreover, may provide essential knowledge for acquirers to overcome the liabilities of foreignness they face and achieving performance improvement. While state-owned firms provide sufficient resources, the lack management skills may offset such advantages in improving firm innovation performance.
What emerges across both studies is, first, the role of strategic asset seeking motivation. Both studies show an SAS motivation helps increase Chinese acquiring firms’ performance, even when the target products are unrelated. Domestic complementary local resources together with the purpose of bringing such strategic assets back for exploitation and development in the domestic market explain why and how Chinese firms apply SAS CM&A to catch-up. In addition, the salient impacts of business group affiliation on post-acquisition performance are highlighted in these studies. The first study shows business group affiliation enhances innovation performance when compared with those non-affiliated firms when they undertake SAS related CM&As. Furthermore, the second study shows that even the deals are unrelated, business group affiliated firms with an SAS orientation perform better. These results shed further light
on the distinct home country effects within China and how these may influence the ability of Chinese MNEs to exploit and reap value from acquired target firms. In particular, they highlight the apparently important role that business group affiliation may play when it comes to post-acquisition performance. Finally, the negative impacts of state-ownership in both studies point towards the potentially darker side of government involvement in international deals.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Cross-border M&A, EMNEs, Strategic asset seeking, diversification, firm performance
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Business > Management and Marketing, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 Feb 2022 13:01

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