This paper establishes that credit ratings affect the choice of payment method in mergers and acquisitions. We find that bidders holding a high rating level are more likely to use cash financing in a takeover. We attribute this finding to lower financial constraints and enhanced capability of highly rated firms to access public debt markets as implied by their higher credit quality. Our results are economically significant and robust to several firm- and deal-specific characteristics and are not sensitive to the method used to measure the likelihood of the payment choice or after controlling for potential endogeneity bias.
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- Credit ratings
- Method of payment
- Mergers and acquisitions