Entrenchment through Discretion over M&A Contractual Provisions
78 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 4, 2019
We apply the idea that managers of acquiring firms intend to entrench themselves through M&A in the sense of Shleifer and Vishny’s (1989) entrenchment strategy through manager-specific investments. We propose that these managers implement bidder termination fee provisions in M&A contracts to make it costly for acquirers’ shareholders to disapprove the deal after announcement and to prevent the manager from such entrenchment through M&A. In such cases, managers announce M&A deals before getting dismissed after bad performance. Consistently, we find that the market reacts on average negatively to deal announcements if bidder termination fees are high and if the likelihood of imminent forced CEO turnover is high. For these firms we detect significant increases in their level of entrenchment post offer announcement. Our effect is also economically significant and is more pronounced if the CEO’s wealth is less sensitive to firm’s stock price changes, if the deal is characterized as a diversifying takeover, and if internal as well as external governance mechanisms are weak. The results suggest that small- to moderate-sized bidder termination fees might serve as efficiency enhancing contractual devices, whereas excessively high fees destroy shareholder value and possibly signal agency problems.
Keywords: Takeovers, Mergers and Acquisitions, Managerial Entrenchment, Bidder Termination Fees, Reverse Termination Fees
JEL Classification: G14, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation