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Bargaining in Mergers: The Role of Outside Options and Termination Provisions

  • S. Rosenkranz
  • U. Weitzel

We model takeovers as a bargaining process and explain the existence and net effect of target as well as bidder termination fees, subject to bargaining power and outside options. In equilibrium, net termination fees (target minus acquirer fees) are offered by firms with a superior bargaining position in exchange for a greater share of merger synergies. This even holds when the target negotiates with the most efficient bidder and in the absence of bidding-related costs. Using a sample of 1232 U.S. mergers from 1986 to 2003, our theoretical predictions and the concept of net termination fees find empirical support. Net termination fees and premiums are positively correlated, while net fees decrease (increase) in targets’ (acquirers’) bargaining power, proxied by market capitalization, and increase (decrease) intargets’ (acquirers’) outside options, proxied inter alia by market-to-book ratios. These results question existing explanations for termination fees and lockup options, like cost compensation, target commitment, agency costs and management entrenchment. They also imply that judicial ruling according to the more lenient business judgement is at least as justified as the application of more restrictive legal standards.

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Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 05-32.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0532
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  1. Burch, Timothy R., 2001. "Locking out rival bidders: The use of lockup options in corporate mergers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 103-141, April.
  2. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
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  5. Berkovitch, Elazar & Khanna, Naveen, 1990. " How Target Shareholders Benefit from Value-Reducing Defensive Strategies in Takeovers," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 137-56, March.
  6. Hirshleifer, David, 1989. "Facilitation of Competing Bids and the Price of a Takeover Target," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt2496649g, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
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  8. G. William Schwert, 1999. "Hostility in Takeovers: In the Eyes of the Beholder?," NBER Working Papers 7085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ronald J. Gilson & Alan Schwartz, 2005. "Understanding MACs: Moral Hazard in Acquisitions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 330-358, October.
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  12. Gregor Andrade & Mark Mitchell & Erik Stafford, 2001. "New Evidence and Perspectives on Mergers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 103-120, Spring.
  13. Paul Klemperer, 1997. "Auctions with Almost Common Values: The Wallet Game and its Applications," Economics Series Working Papers 1998-W03, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  14. Comment, Robert & Schwert, G. William, 1995. "Poison or placebo? Evidence on the deterrence and wealth effects of modern antitakeover measures," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 3-43, September.
  15. Comment, Robert & Jarrell, Gregg A., 1987. "Two-tier and negotiated tender offers: The imprisonment of the free-riding shareholder," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 283-310, December.
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  17. Bates, Thomas W. & Lemmon, Michael L., 2003. "Breaking up is hard to do? An analysis of termination fee provisions and merger outcomes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 469-504, September.
  18. Officer, Micah S., 2003. "Termination fees in mergers and acquisitions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 431-467, September.
  19. Povel, Paul & Singh, Rajdeep, 2004. "Using bidder asymmetry to increase seller revenue," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 17-20, July.
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