NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Thomas Keusch

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Institutional Affiliation: INSEAD

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2019Dancing With Activists
with Lucian A. Bebchuk, Alon Brav, Wei Jiang: w26171
An important milestone often reached in the life of an activist engagement is entering into a “settlement” agreement between the activist and the target’s board. Using a comprehensive hand-collected data set, we analyze the drivers, nature, and consequences of such settlement agreements. Settlements are more likely when the activist has a credible threat to win board seats in a proxy fight and when incumbents’ reputation concerns are stronger. Consistent with incomplete contracting, face-saving benefits and private information considerations, settlements commonly do not contract directly on operational or leadership changes sought by the activist but rather on board composition changes. Settlements are accompanied by positive stock price reactions, and they are subsequently followed by cha...
 
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