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Bargaining in Mergers and Termination Fees

  • U. Weitzel
  • S. Rosenkranz

We model takeovers as a bargaining process and explain termination fees for, both, the target and the acquirer, subject to parties’ bargaining power and outside options. In equilibrium, termination fees are offered by firms with outside options in exchange for a greater share of merger synergies. Termination fees decrease in firms’ bargaining power, and increase in firms’ outside options. We find that a merger with the second highest bidder, including a termination fee, can lead to equally high premiums as a merger with the highest bidder, without a termination fee. This novel result directly contrasts the agency cost perspective, which argues that termination provisions may be used by managers to lock into acquirers that do not generate the highest shareholder value. Further, even in a merger with the highest bidder and in the absence of bidding related costs, a termination fee is not necessarily a deal protection device, but can be used to improve shareholder value. Our bargaining model offers an alternative to auction related explanations of termination fees, like cost compensation or seller commitment.

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Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 07-06.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0706
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  1. Audra L. Boone & J. Harold Mulherin, 2007. "How Are Firms Sold?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 847-875, 04.
  2. 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.
  3. Paul Povel & Rajdeep Singh, 2006. "Takeover Contests with Asymmetric Bidders," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(4), pages 1399-1431.
  4. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  5. Luis Alvarez & Rune Stenbacka, 2006. "Takeover Timing, Implementation Uncertainty, and Embedded Divestment Options," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 10(3), pages 417-441, September.
  6. 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.
  7. Povel, Paul & Singh, Rajdeep, 2004. "Using bidder asymmetry to increase seller revenue," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 17-20, July.
  8. Cramton, Peter & Schwartz, Alan, 1991. "Using Auction Theory to Inform Takeover Regulation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 27-53, Spring.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Officer, Micah S., 2003. "Termination fees in mergers and acquisitions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 431-467, September.
  13. 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.
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