Target firms in Australian takeovers are required to commission the preparation of an independent expert report in circumstances where there is a perceived conflict of interest with the bidder. As approximately half of these reports are prepared by firms with which the target has other business dealings, concern has been expressed over the quality of these reports due to the suggestion that such reports are provided at lower fees. We examine the 191 independent expert reports provided in all 649 Australian takeover bids initiated in the period 1990 to 2000 inclusive. Using an expert-fee model, we find that the fees for reports by experts with other business dealings with the target are not lower than those of unrelated experts. In addition, the results indicate that experts with other dealings with the target provide reports with a significantly smaller valuation range, consistent with these reports being of higher, rather than lower, quality. Our findings are inconsistent with the U.S. and New Zealand experience of prohibiting audit firms from providing valuation advice in takeovers.
- Expert reports
- Independent experts