Managerial incentives and corporate acquisitions : evidence from the US

Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2015
Thesis identifier
  • T14202
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201279148
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • This thesis examines the impact of executive compensation on the quality of corporate acquisition decisions. A number of different issues are empirically investigated. The analysis begins with the examination of the relation between the incentives managers are provided with via their compensation contracts and the riskiness of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) investigating whether this relation is affected by the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in 2002. The study then focuses on the performance of acquiring firms exploring how and whether managerial incentives can induce value-increasing acquisitions conditional on the intensity of M&A activity. The final part of the empirical analysis examines whether the legal status of the target firm has any implications for the effectiveness of incentive compensation to mitigate managerial risk-aversion and increase shareholder value. The thesis contributes both to academic literature and to practice by identifying areas of inefficiencies of equity-based compensation contracts to mitigate agency costs. More specifically, new evidence is provided on the effectiveness of incentive compensation to induce risk-taking activity under the impact of stricter regulation. While compensation-related incentives are positively associated with the riskiness of acquisition decisions before 2002, managers have become considerably less responsive to such incentives after the enactment of SOX. Moreover, although incentive compensation can improve deal performance and overcome adverse selection concerns by inducing managers to acquire when it is optimal to do, it is not related to value-increasing decisions when acquisitions are initiated during periods of merger waves. It is further found that equity-based compensation can be rendered ineffective to mitigate agency costs when a publicly listed firm is acquired. Given these inefficiencies, a number of recommendations are made for the improvement of the design of executive compensation contracts that could provide valuable guidelines to remuneration committees to reduce excessive compensation costs and benefit shareholders.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2015
Former identifier
  • 1247081