How much is reasonable? The size of termination fees in mergers and acquisitions
We investigate termination fee size in mergers. Although the deal premium does not significantly affect fee size, smaller targets and targets with lower institutional ownership offer larger fees. Low or moderate fees do not eliminate post-announcement competing bids, while large fees do. Fee size is generally positively correlated with deal completion. However, large fees are negatively correlated with the consummation of high-premium deals. Fee size is generally unrelated to announcement-date cumulative abnormal returns. However, returns are significantly lower for deals including fees larger than 5%. Overall, the study provides evidence that low- or moderate-size fees serve as efficient contractual devices, while large fees are less beneficial to shareholders and therefore tend to suggest agency conflicts.
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