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Yup, M&A leaks are intentional

November 15, 2013: 11:47 AM ET

A new study suggests that it's no accident when deal news is leaked.

131115112541-money-leaks-620xaFORTUNE -- Most "leaks" of mergers and acquisitions are done intentionally, according to a new report out fromĀ Intralinks (IL) and The Cass Business School.

The researchers basically mapped out when leaks occur during deals for publicly-traded companies, and found that they rarely were right after a virtual data room was opened. In other words, these aren't accidental disclosures caused by incorrectly-typed emails or someone who didn't realize the process was confidential.

Instead, the leaks almost always came much later in the process -- when one side has something to gain:

This view is supported by nearly all respondents in our latest interviews, with the consensus being that intentional leaking happens much more often than accidental leaking. This assertion is summarized by a partner at a UK law firm, who states that "Leaks are intentional most of the time – now we have brilliant technology in place which ensures accidental leaks are prevented almost completely." This view is further supported by a partner at a UK accountancy firm, who comments: "Now the information exchange happens in a secured manner which is unlikely to be breached unless intentionally done."

The report studied 142 transactions, and in no cases did a leak occur before a virtual data room was opened.

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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