64 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2020 Last revised: 30 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 30, 2021
Due diligence is common practice prior to the execution of corporate or real estate transactions. We propose a model of the due diligence process and analyze its effect on prices, payoffs, the likelihood of deal completion, and the distribution of completion times. In our model, if the seller accepts an offer, the acquirer has the right to gather information and chooses when to execute the transaction. Our main result is that the acquirer engages in ``too much" due diligence relative to the social optimum. Nevertheless, allowing for due diligence can improve both total surplus and the seller's payoff compared to a setting with no due diligence. The optimal contract involves both a price contingent on execution and a non-contingent transfer, resembling features such as earnest money or break-up fees that are commonly observed in practice.
Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions, Private Equity, Real Estate, Learning, Dynamic Games, Asymmetric Information,
JEL Classification: D82, D86, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation