Mergers, Spin-Offs, and Employee Incentives

50 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2010

See all articles by Paolo Fulghieri

Paolo Fulghieri

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Merih Sevilir

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Finance

Date Written: November 16, 2010


This paper studies mergers between competing firms and shows that while such mergers reduce the level of product market competition, they may have an adverse effect on employee incentives to innovate. In industries where value creation depends on innovation and development of new products, mergers are likely to be inefficient even though they increase the market power of the post-merger firm. In such industries, a stand-alone structure where independent firms compete both in the product market and in the market for employee human capital leads to a greater profitability. Furthermore, our analysis shows that multidivisional firms can improve employee incentives and increase firm value by reducing firm size through a spin-off transaction although doing so eliminates the economies of scale advantage of being a larger firm and the benefits of operating an internal capital market within the firm. Finally, our paper suggests that established firms can benefit from creating their own competition in the product and labor markets by accommodating new firm entry, and the desire to do so is greater at the intermediate stages of industry/product development.

Keywords: mergers, competition, incentives, innovation, human capital

JEL Classification: G34

Suggested Citation

Fulghieri, Paolo and Sevilir, Merih, Mergers, Spin-Offs, and Employee Incentives (November 16, 2010). ECGI - Finance Working Paper No. 295/2010. Available at SSRN: or

Paolo Fulghieri (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

B-1050 Brussels


Merih Sevilir

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Finance ( email )

1309 E. 10th St.
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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