The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 141–180

The M&A dynamics of European science-based entrepreneurial firms


DOI: 10.1007/s10961-009-9109-3

Cite this article as:
Bonardo, D., Paleari, S. & Vismara, S. J Technol Transf (2010) 35: 141. doi:10.1007/s10961-009-9109-3


This paper investigates the dynamics of a sample of 131 science-based entrepreneurial firms (SBEFs), selected out of 500 innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that went public in Europe in the period 1995–2003. We found that the market for control of these firms was active, with most of our sample firms being acquired after their Initial Public Offering (IPO), usually by companies operating within the same industry. Floated SBEFs showed a higher propensity to be acquired than independent firms; this distinction persisted after controlling for intellectual capital and other possible determinants. While university affiliation enhanced attractiveness in the eyes of other companies, it negatively affected the propensity for acquisition. We argue that university-based firms do contribute to the technology transfer process, as evidenced by the widespread interest of the business world in investing in these firms. The creation of a SBEF is a first step in the process of commercial exploitation of university-research, while the subsequent step of going public is a sign of the success of this entrepreneurial venture. The take-over of SBEFs may be a final outcome of the process of knowledge diffusion.


SBEFsUniversity spin-offsScience-based entrepreneurshipEuropeIPOsM&As

JEL Classification


Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Damiano Bonardo
    • 1
  • Stefano Paleari
    • 1
  • Silvio Vismara
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics and Technology ManagementUniversity of BergamoDalmine (BG)Italy