The Costs of Entrenched Boards
Posted: 8 Dec 2003
This paper investigates empirically how the value of publicly traded firms is affected by arrangements that protect management from removal. Staggered boards, which a majority of U.S. public companies have, substantially insulate boards from removal in either a hostile takeover or a proxy contest. We find that staggered boards are associated with an economically meaningful reduction in firm value (as measured by Tobin's Q). We also provide suggestive evidence that staggered boards bring about, and not merely reflect, an economically significant reduction in firm value. Finally, the correlation with reduced firm value is stronger for staggered boards that are established in the corporate charter (which shareholders cannot amend) than for staggered boards established in the company's bylaws (which shareholders can amend).
The data on which this paper is based is available for download at Lucian Bebchuk's home page.
This paper is listed in the Journal of Financial Economics’ “Hall of Fame” of influential JFE articles that have an average of 10 or more citations per year since publication.
Keywords: Corporate governance, Tobin's Q, firm value, agency costs, boards, directors, takeovers, tender offers, mergers and acquisitions, proxy fights, defensive tactics, antitakeover provisions, staggered boards, poison pills
JEL Classification: G30, G34, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation