Negative Hedging: Performance Sensitive Debt and CEOs' Equity Incentives
54 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2008 Last revised: 23 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 18, 2009
We examine the relation between CEOs equity incentives and their use of performance-sensitive debt contracts. These contracts require higher or lower interest payments when the borrower's performance deteriorates or improves, thereby increasing expected costs of financial distresswhile also making a firm riskier to the benefit of option holders. We find that managers whose compensation is more sensitive to stock price volatility choose steeper and more convex performance pricing schedules, while those with high delta incentives choose flatter, less convex pricing schedules. Performance pricing contracts therefore seem to provide a channel for managers to increase firms financial risk to gain private benefits.
Keywords: Performance sensitive debt, equity compensation
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