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Reversions of Excess Pension Assets after Takeovers


  • Jeffrey Pontiff
  • Andrei Shleifer
  • Michael S. Weisbach


This article evaluates pension asset reversions as a source of takeover gains. In our sample of 413 takeovers, pension funds were reverted by 15.1% of acquirers in the two years following hostile takeovers compared to 8.4% in the two years following friendly takeovers. Reversions following takeovers tend to occur in unit-benefit plans, where the potential for wealth transfer is the greatest. These results are consistent with the view that hostile takeovers breach implicit contracts between firms and employees. We estimate that the reversions can on average explain approximately 11% of the takeover premium in cases where they actually occur. Reversions are too small to be the sole, or even dominant, source of takeover gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Pontiff & Andrei Shleifer & Michael S. Weisbach, 1990. "Reversions of Excess Pension Assets after Takeovers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(4), pages 600-613, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:21:y:1990:i:winter:p:600-613

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Xiaoyang, 2013. "Productivity, restructuring, and the gains from takeovers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 250-271.
    2. Osano, Hiroshi, 2004. "Stock options and employees' firm-specific human capital under the threat of divestitures and acquisitions," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 615-638, September.
    3. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 1995. "A welfare comparison of intermediaries and financial markets in Germany and the US," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 179-209, February.
    4. Mahoney, Joseph & Asher, Cheryl Carleton & Mahoney, James, 2004. "Towards a Property Rights Foundation for a Stakeholder Theory of the Firm," Working Papers 04-0116, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    5. Chaplinsky, Susan & Niehaus, Greg & Van de Gucht, Linda, 1998. "Employee buyouts: causes, structure, and consequences," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 283-332, June.
    6. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    7. Gokhale, Jagadeesh & Groshen, Erica L & Neumark, David, 1995. "Do Hostile Takeovers Reduce Extramarginal Wage Payments?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 470-485, August.
    8. Friedberg Leora & Owyang Michael T & Sinclair Tara M, 2006. "Searching For Better Prospects: Endogenizing Falling Job Tenure and Private Pension Coverage," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-42, August.
    9. repec:ecl:illbus:12-0100 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. David Neumark & Steven A. Sharpe, 1992. "Hostile Takeovers and Expropriation of Extramarginal Wages: A Test," NBER Working Papers 4101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    12. Neumark, David & Song, Joanne, 2013. "Do stronger age discrimination laws make Social Security reforms more effective?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 1-16.
    13. Chemla, Gilles, 2005. "Hold-up, stakeholders and takeover threats," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 376-397, July.
    14. Nuria Alcalde Fradejas & Inés Pérez-Soba Aguilar, 2007. "Influencia de las ofertas públicas de adquisición sobre el empleo de las empresas adquiridas: un análisis empírico," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 31(1), pages 5-42, January.
    15. repec:bla:stratm:v:37:y:2016:i:12:p:2393-2412 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4134 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Johnson, William C. & Karpoff, Jonathan M. & Yi, Sangho, 2015. "The bonding hypothesis of takeover defenses: Evidence from IPO firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 307-332.
    18. Shapiro, B. P., 1998. "Toward a normative model of rational argumentation for critical accounting discussions," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 641-663, October.
    19. Clinch, Greg & Shibano, Toshi, 1996. "Differential tax benefits and the pension reversion decision," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 69-106, February.
    20. Cocco, Joâo Francisco P.D. & Volpin, Paolo, 2005. "The Corporate Governance of Defined-Benefit Pension Plans: Evidence from the United Kingdom," CEPR Discussion Papers 4932, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. Hanka, Gordon, 1998. "Debt and the terms of employment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 245-282, June.
    22. Vikas Mehrotra & Randall Morck, 2017. "Governance and Stakeholders," NBER Working Papers 23460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Andrew J. Seltzer, 2016. "Implicit contracts and acquisitions: An econometric case study of the nineteenth century Australian banking industry," CEH Discussion Papers 048, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.

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