Inventory performance with pooling: evidence from mergers and acquisitions
Theoretical studies show that compared to decentralized inventory management, (i) pooling inventories for different demand sources decreases the optimal safety stock, which in turn decreases inventory costs and (ii) the decrease in stock is related to the correlation between the different demand sources and variabilities of demands. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) provide a business context to investigate the effects of correlation and variability of the merging firms' demands on potential improvements in inventory performance through inventory pooling. While merging firms may not fully centralize their inventory decisions, the coordination of inventory and supply chain decisions may result in synergies. Using firm-level data for 270 same-industry mergers carried out in U.S. between 1981 and 2009, we find that the inventory turnover of bidder and target firms improves (relative to firms in their industry) following the successful completion of mergers. The improvement in turnover is especially pronounced in deals where the demand of bidder and target firms are negatively correlated prior to the merger. Our results provide novel empirical support for the predictions of theoretical models on inventory economies in M&A.