Do Acquirer CEO Incentives Impact Mergers?
David A. Becher
Jennifer L. Juergens
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
This paper examines the mechanisms by which acquirer CEOs are incentivized and their impact on merger decisions. We argue that the pre-merger structure of CEO wealth impacts a CEO’s risk tolerance and ultimately her willingness to undertake a merger as well as the framework of the deal. As the riskiness of CEO wealth increases (as measured by excess vega or cumulative option-based wealth), firms are more likely to become an acquirer, pay higher premiums, and experience lower post-merger performance. These results hold controlling for CEO overconfidence and cannot be attributed to firms altering incentives to induce CEOs to partake in mergers. Post financial crisis, we find both a shift in the composition of CEO pay and its relation to mergers. Overall, these results have important policy implications in the debate over optimal CEO pay as the structure by which CEOs are compensated appears to impact firm choices.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: Mergers, CEO compensation, CEO ownership, incentive wealth
JEL Classification: G32, G34, J33
Date posted: July 25, 2012 ; Last revised: May 9, 2014