In R&D intensive industries, governments promote greenfield foreign investments, while being sceptical towards foreign acquisitions of domestic high-quality firms. We develop a theoretical model that shows that foreign acquisitions are conducive to high-quality targets because of strategic effects on the sales price. However, foreign firms ‘cherry pick’ high-quality targets to expand R&D rather than to downsize. Otherwise, rivals expand R&D, making the acquisition unprofitable. Thus, our model predicts that acquired affiliates invest more in R&D than greenfield affiliates. Using affiliate data, we find evidence that acquired affiliates have a higher level of sequential R&D intensity than greenfield affiliates.
Canadian Journal of Economics
Should Countries Block Foreign Takeovers of R&D Champions and Promote Greenfield Entry?