Highly skilled and well connected: Migrant inventors in cross-border M&As

Abstract

Based on a relational view of international business, we investigate the role of migrant inventors in cross-border mergers and acquisitions undertaken by R&D-active firms. We hypothesize that the migrant inventors’ international social networks can be leveraged by their employers in order to identify and/or integrate relevant knowledge bases of acquisition targets in the inventors’ home country. We nuance our hypothesis by means of several conditional logistic regressions on a large matched sample of deals and control cases. The impact of migrant inventors increases with the distance between countries and for targets located in countries with weak administrative/legal systems, as well as when targets are either innovative or belong to high-tech sectors or to the same sector as the acquirer, and for full versus partial acquisitions.

Résumé

Sur la base d'une vision relationnelle de l’international business, nous étudions le rôle des inventeurs migrants dans les fusions et acquisitions transfrontalières (FAT) réalisées par des entreprises actives en R&D. Nous émettons l'hypothèse que les réseaux sociaux internationaux des inventeurs migrants peuvent être exploités par leurs employeurs afin d'identifier et/ou d'intégrer des bases de connaissances pertinentes des cibles d'acquisition dans le pays d'origine des inventeurs. Nous nuançons notre hypothèse au moyen de plusieurs régressions logistiques conditionnelles sur un large échantillon apparié de cas de transactions et de contrôle. L'impact des inventeurs migrants augmente avec la distance entre les pays et pour les cibles situées dans des pays où les systèmes administratifs/juridiques sont faibles, ainsi que lorsque les cibles sont soit innovantes, soit appartiennent à des secteurs de haute technologie ou au même secteur que l'acquéreur, et pour des acquisitions totales ou partielles.

Resumen

Con base una visión relacional de los negocios internacionales, investigamos el papel de los inventores migrantes en las fusiones y adquisiciones transfronterizas llevadas por empresas activas en I + D. Nuestra hipótesis es que las redes sociales de los inventores migrantes pueden ser apalancadas por sus empleadores con el fin de identificar y/o integrar las bases de conocimiento relevante para los objetivos de adquisición del país de origen de los inventores. Matizamos nuestra hipótesis con distintas regresiones logísticas condicionales en una gran muestra combinada de negocios y casos de control. El impacto de los inventores migrantes aumenta con la distancia entre países y con los objetivos ubicados en países con sistemas legales/administrativos débiles, también cuando los objetivos son ya sea innovadores o pertenezcan a sectores de alta tecnología o el mismo sector del adquiriente, y para adquisiciones totales versus parciales.

Resumo

Com base em uma visão relacional de negócios internacionais, investigamos o papel dos inventores migrantes em fusões e aquisições transfronteiriças (CBM&As) realizadas por empresas ativas em P & D. Nossa hipótese é que redes sociais internacionais de inventores migrantes podem ser alavancadas por seus empregadores para identificar e/ou integrar bases de conhecimento relevantes de metas de aquisição no país de origem dos inventores. Nós matizamos nossa hipótese por meio de várias regressões logísticas condicionais em uma grande amostra pareada de negócios e casos de controle. O impacto de inventores migrantes aumenta com a distância entre países e para alvos localizados em países com sistemas administrativos/legais fracos, bem como quando as metas são inovadoras ou pertencentes a setores de alta tecnologia ou ao mesmo setor do adquirente, e para aquisições totais versus aquisições parciais.

摘要

基于国际商务关系观,我们调查了移民发明人在研发活跃的公司进行跨境并购(CBM&As)中的作用。我们假设, 移民发明人的国际社交网络可被其雇主利用, 以识别和/或整合发明人本国收购目标的相关知识基础。我们通过对大量匹配交易和控制案例样本的几个条件逻辑回归来细化我们的假设。移民发明人的影响随国家之间距离以及对位于行政/法律体系薄弱国家的目标而言增加, 同时当目标要么具有创新性要么属于高科技行业或与收购方属于同一行业时, 以及对完全与部分收购而言该影响也增加。

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Acknowledgements

This paper has benefited from helpful discussions with colleagues at GREThA- Université de Bordeaux and URU-University of Utrecht. Previous drafts were also discussed by colleagues at several conferences (CERDI workshop on International Migration 2015, Université d’Auvergne; ENEF meeting 2015, Toulouse; AAG Annual Meeting 2016, San Francisco; and AFSE Annual Meeting 2016, Nancy). In particular, we would like to thank Pierre Alexandre Balland, Mathieu Clement, Koen Frenken, Dieter Kogler and Eric Rougier. This study has received financial support from the French State in the frame of the “Investments for the future” Programme IdEx Bordeaux, reference ANR-10-IDEX-03-02 and from the Regional Council of Nouvelle Aquitaine, Chaire d’Accueil Programme.

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Correspondence to Diego Useche.

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Supplementary information accompanies this article on the Journal of International Business Studies website (www.palgrave.com/journals).

Accepted by John Cantwell, Guest Editor, 10 November 2018. This article has been with the authors for four revisions.

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Useche, D., Miguelez, E. & Lissoni, F. Highly skilled and well connected: Migrant inventors in cross-border M&As. J Int Bus Stud 51, 737–763 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-018-0203-3

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Keywords

  • cross-border mergers and acquisitions
  • migration
  • inventors
  • PCT patents