M&A arbitrage

M&A arbitrage is a way to profit from one company taking over another, or two firms deciding to merge. Both events are usually good for the share price of a target (in an acquisition) or smaller firm (in a merger), but bad for the predator, or larger firm.

That’s because most investors assume the acquiring firm will pay a premium that will never be recovered in future cost savings or other synergies. So a trader, sensing a forthcoming bid, might buy (‘go long’) the target and sell (or ‘short’) the predator using, say, two spread bets.

If the predator’s shares duly fall and the target’s rise, the bet makes money. However, should the proposed deal collapse, the trade must be closed quickly to avoid big losses.

MoneyWeek magazine

Latest issue:

Magazine cover
Don't be spooked by Putin

Take a punt on eastern Europe

The UK's best-selling financial magazine. Take a FREE trial today.
Claim 4 FREE Issues
Shale gas 'fracking' promises to transform Britain's energy market. Find out what it is, what it means, and how to invest.

Which investment platform?

When it comes to buying shares and funds, there are several investment platforms and brokers to choose from. They all offer various fee structures to suit individual investing habits.
Find out which one is best for you.