Rumors surrounding merger negotiations may cause legal problems for the negotiating parties. Information leaked from negotiations can lead to accusations of fraud or of insider trading. Despite their potential danger, M&A rumors appear daily in hundreds of news sources. The Penn Libraries subscribe to several databases that allow you to track M&A rumors, and to find the details of the deals the rumors represent.
Below is a description of the “rumor mills” of five databases that cover M&A deals.
All of the databases described are updated continually, are international in scope and have lengthy historical files. The databases differ in the way that they handle rumors. Three of the databases (Zephyr, Thomson One, and FactSet) treat rumors as a description of a deal’s status and allow you to screen on this variable. In Zephyr, for example, you can create a set of all deals using “rumor” as the deal’s status, and combine it with variables for geographic location, time period, industry group, and deal type. Bloomberg and S&P Capital IQ, in contrast, handle rumors strictly as a news story event. Both of these databases index a wide variety of news sources for M&A rumors. However, Bloomberg and Cap IQ can’t easily be used to create a customized set of deals combining the concept “rumor” with other variables.
Zephyr is the M&A module of the Bureau van Dijk suite of financial databases. Zephyr categorizes rumors as “current”, “expired,” “updated” and “withdrawn”. Here is the path for finding M&A rumors on Zephyr:
Advanced Search => Rumors => All Rumors => All Current Rumors
Below is a brief spreadsheet report of current M&A rumors from Zephyr. Many additional columns of information relating to the particular deals can be requested although missing data, such as the acquiror name, is a frequent feature of reporting deals based on rumors.
Thomson One, like Zephyr, treats rumors as a “Deal Status” variable. You will need to use Internet Explorer to access this database. Here is the pathway to finding M&A rumors on Thomson One:
Screening and Analysis => Deals and League Tables => M&A => Advanced Search
From the Item List select: Deal Info => Deal Status => Tentative => Rumor
Here is a brief excerpt from a Thomson One report describing a rumored acquisition by Facebook.
On FactSet, (only available in the Lippincott Library), retrieve M&A deals involving rumors with the following search:
F (ICON) => Company => M&A => Merger Stat => Transaction Status => Rumor or Rumor Cancelled
Of all the databases described, FactSet has the smallest number of rumored deals, approximately 50 per month.
Bloomberg (available at the Lippincott Library and Huntsman Hall) has an extensive module for M&A deals, including companies, detailed deal criteria and deal terms. To access this data on Bloomberg, type the following into the command line:
However, Bloomberg doesn’t treat “rumor” as a variable within its M&A database. It reports M&A rumors as news stories in several overlapping categories including:
MNA <NEWS> <GO>
PREMNA <NEWS> <GO>
MNAANON <NEWS> <GO>
MNA is the general category for all M&A news. PREMNA covers mergers that haven’t happened, but may, or are rumored to be occurring. MNAANON lists “anonymously sourced” M&A stories. Narrowing the search with the keyword “rumor” will make retrieval more precise.
Like Bloomberg, S&P Capital IQ (available at the Lippincott Library for Wharton students) treats rumors as pre-M&A events and does not include them in their extensive database of M&A deal information. Retrieve M&A rumors with this search:
Screening => Companies => Key Developments => Type => M&A Rumors and Discussions
All of the databases listed are also good tools for general M&A research. For additional sources for mergers and acquisitions take a look at our Business FAQ and our Mergers & Acquisitions Research Guide.