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On the Importance of Golden Parachutes

  • Eliezer M. Fich (a1), Anh L. Tran (a2) and Ralph A. Walkling (a3)
Abstract

In acquisitions, target chief executive officers (CEOs) face a moral hazard: Any personal gain from the deal could be offset by the loss of the future compensation stream associated with their jobs. Larger, more important parachutes provide greater relief for these losses. To explicitly measure the moral hazard target CEOs face, we standardize the parachute payment by the expected value of their acquisition-induced lost compensation. We examine 851 acquisitions from 1999–2007, finding that more important parachutes benefit target shareholders through higher completion probabilities. Conversely, as parachute importance increases, target shareholders receive lower takeover premia, while acquirer shareholders capture additional rents from target shareholders.

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