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CEO vs. COO: shareholder perceptions of M&A announcements based on insider trades

Vinh Huy Nguyen (California State University Fresno, Fresno, California, USA)
Carolina Gomez (Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA)
Suchi Mishra (Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA)
Ali M. Parhizgari (Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA)

Managerial Finance

ISSN: 0307-4358

Article publication date: 30 March 2021

Issue publication date: 12 August 2021




We examine how the net share purchases of top executives of acquiring firms, specifically the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chief Operating Officer (COO), can impact shareholder perceptions of a merger and acquisition (M&A) around the announcement time.


Regression tests using the post-announcement cumulative returns as the dependent variables, and CEO and COO net purchases as independent test controlling for the net purchases of all other insiders, COO and CEO ownership, exercised options, unexercised exercisable options, merger type, pre-announcement firm size, past performance, industry growth, industry instability, year and industry fixed effects. The regression tests are used for various sub-samples (i.e. non-contemporaneous events, duality, operational complexity, economic conditions).


We find that overall shareholders value the COO's net purchases before the announcement but not those of the CEOs. If the COO is also the CEO, then executive buy-ins appear to have a negative reaction from the shareholders. When the firm has many business segments or when the announcement is made in an economic recession, the COO's net purchases do not have a positive influence on the shareholders.


We are the first to provide evidence that investors pay attention to the COO around M&A announcements. In the age of celebrity CEOs, who can instantaneously change the stock price with one press release, having another executive that can shape the opinion of investors can diversify the agency risk.



Nguyen, V.H., Gomez, C., Mishra, S. and Parhizgari, A.M. (2021), "CEO vs. COO: shareholder perceptions of M&A announcements based on insider trades", Managerial Finance, Vol. 47 No. 9, pp. 1253-1269.



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