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Three Essays in Mergers and Acquisitions and Executive Compensation


Three Essays in Mergers and Acquisitions and Executive Compensation

El-Hassan, Nada (2021) Three Essays in Mergers and Acquisitions and Executive Compensation. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Several studies in the finance literature (and other fields) focus on how compensation contracts of CEOs shape incentives and affect risk-taking behaviour. We examine how CEOs with varying risk appetites approach merger and acquisition (M&A) deals differently due to incentives driven by their compensation structure. Relying on VEGA, the sensitivity of executive’s portfolio to a one percent change in volatility of stock returns, we document that acquirers and targets behave differently vis-à-vis their compensation. We show that a longer time to completion is related to the target VEGA (and not bidder VEGA). We also find that a more risk-taking CEO (as encouraged by VEGA) selling his firm would delay completing a deal by a significant three weeks. We conjecture that target CEOs choose to delay deal completion to look for better bids that tally their need to change their portfolio of company holdings.
Next, we link executive compensation, mergers and acquisitions, and environmental, social and governance in one framework that produces new insights into how CEO’s incentives yield sub-optimal investment decisions. Our sample consists of 1,280 mergers (M&A) from the period of 1993-2018 and uses the CEO’s wealth sensitivity to stock price volatility (VEGA) as a proxy for risk-taking behaviour. We establish that there is a shift in the relation between CSR rating and cumulative abnormal announcement returns of M&As deals. After 2008, the market for corporate control no longer rewards more commitment to CSR activities. We examine the performance of our sample of mergers in comparison with that of a matched sample of non-bidding firms vis-à-vis their environmental, social and governance (ESG) profiles over the long term. Our results indicate that more CSR commitment does not translate into better long-term returns for shareholders and stakeholders if the firms participate in M&As. Moreover, we investigate how the bidder and target CSR ratings, as well as management risk-taking incentives (proxied by VEGA), affect deals total synergy estimated around the announcement day. Our results show that firms with lower CSR ratings yield more synergy gains, which are not related to both bidder and target risk-taking incentives.
Finally, we provide new evidence related to the debate whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies intrinsically benefit organizations and contribute to wealth creation after controlling for CEO compensation. We utilize a sample of M&A deals spanning the period 1993 to 2018 of target firms with different CSR ratings and investigate the effect of CEOs’ executive compensation driven incentives. Our main finding is that Low CSR firms becoming targets of M&A contests in the subperiod post-2008 record the highest cumulative average abnormal returns (compared to High CSR over the same period and other subsamples). We report that Low CSR firms with High VEGA target CEOs specifically perform better in corporate control contests in later years. We justify this as Low CSR firms are characterized by lower governance and more agency costs where management seeks benefit its own interests instead of being considerate for the stakeholders at large.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business > Finance
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:El-Hassan, Nada
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Business Administration (Finance specialization)
Date:11 February 2021
Thesis Supervisor(s):Betton, Sandra
Keywords:Executive compensation; Risk taking; Mergers and Acquisitions; VEGA; corporate social responsibility; environmental, social and governance; CSR; ESG.
ID Code:988353
Deposited By: NADA EL-HASSAN
Deposited On:29 Jun 2021 23:15
Last Modified:29 Jun 2021 23:15


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