Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mergers and CEO Retirement Age

In a previous post I  discussed my research on Golden Parachutes, describing the delicate balance boards face in developing an appropriate package.  Today I link to a related article on mergers by Dirk Jenter of Stanford and Katharina Lewellen of Dartmouth.  The article, entitled CEO Preferences and Acquisitions, describes an interesting phenomena, the dramatic increase in firms acquired when their CEO reaches age 65.  I had the pleasure of discussing this interesting article at a conference in Seattle last summer.  The complete abstract is below:

CEO Preferences and Acquisitions

"This paper explores the impact of target CEOs’ retirement preferences on the incidence, the pricing, and the outcomes of takeover bids. Mergers frequently force target CEOs to retire early, and CEOs’ private merger costs are the forgone benefits of staying employed until the planned retirement date. Using retirement age as an instrument for CEOs’ private merger costs, we find strong evidence that target CEO preferences affect merger patterns. The likelihood of receiving a takeover bid increases sharply when target CEOs reach age 65. The probability of a bid is close to 4% per year for target CEOs below age 65 but increases to 6% for the retirement-age group, a 50% increase in the odds of receiving a bid. This increase in takeover activity appears discretely at the age-65 threshold, with no gradual increase as CEOs approach retirement age. Moreover, observed takeover premiums and target announcement returns are significantly lower when target CEOs are older than 65, reinforcing the conclusion that retirement-age CEOs are more willing to accept takeover offers. These results suggest that the preferences of target CEOs have first-order effects on both bidder and target behavior."

The article can be downloaded here.

All the best,


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