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This paper examines corporate risk taking behavior in the wake of unsuccessful merger activities. We find that relative to other firms, firms that made bad acquisitions take both more systematic risk and more idiosyncratic risk. Moreover, higher risk is associated with greater value destruction and stronger corporate governance. The increased risk can be traced to increased cash flow volatility, increased leverage, decreased asset liquidity, more investment in R&D, and more equity-based executive compensation. These findings are in line with the behavioral approach suggesting that in the domain of losses, decision makers generally become more tolerant of risk.


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