The fact that most mergers fail doesn't stop CEOs from doing deals
Susana Bates / Reuters
When the money’s cheap, CEOs go shopping was the point I made in a talk given at the Institute’s Houston Mises Circle this January. Despite the fact that from 60% to 80% of mergers fail, CEOs think that when they do a deal two plus two will equal five, the fact is it often turns out that two plus two ends up equaling three.
Knut Wicksell takes center stage in Forsyth’s ‘Microsoft and Malinvestment: CEOs Gone Wild With Cheap Credit‘.
Austrians described this boom and bust cycle as the result of excess credit creation that winds up producing malinvestments that go bust. It actually was a Swedish economist of the late 19th century and early 20th century, Knut Wicksell, that saw central banks as the driver of this cycle, by lowering the market rate of interest below its “natural rate,” which drove credit expansion and pushed up prices, including those of commodities. Through this distortion of market prices for money, artificial booms occur as malinvestments are made, leading to the inevitable bust.