CEO Compensation and Acquired and Acquiring Companies in Large Corporate Acquisitions

This paper examines the relative sensitivity of CEO compensation of both acquiring and acquired firms in the top 30 U.S. largest corporate acquisitions in each year for the period of 2003 to 2012. We find that total compensation and bonus granted to executive compensation for acquired companies, not acquiring companies, are significantly related to the amount of acquisition deal even after the size and firm performance are controlled for. Both acquiring and acquired CEOs are found to make the significantly higher compensation than the matched sample firms in the same industry and calendar year. We also find that executives with higher managerial power, as measured by a lower salary-based compensation mix, prior to a corporate acquisition are more likely to receive a higher executive pay in the year of acquisition. The association between executive compensation and managerial power seems to be stronger for acquired firms than for acquiring firms in corporate acquisition. Overall, our findings suggest that corporate acquisition has higher impacts on executive compensation for acquired firm CEOs than for acquiring firm CEOs.