Bonus Watch: Double Dipping

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Andrew Ross Sorkin asks why so many deals close get signed up at the end of the year. And the totally non-suprising answer: money.

Here’s a dirty little secret: The urge to merge may be influenced by bonuses for all involved in the deal, especially the bankers. Corporate America’s biggest cheerleaders and boosters need to get paid.
It might seem counterintuitive that investment bankers would rush to announce a client’s deal before year-end. After all, the banks themselves don’t collect any fees unless and until the deal is completed, typically months later in the next calendar year. An enormous transaction that requires approval from regulators could take as long as a year to close.
But many bankers still play what some people in the business like to call “the double bonus game.”
In the byzantine office politics that decides how to dole Wall Street bonuses — expected to be a cash pile of more than $100 billion across the Street this year — a banker can receive a little extra bonus money for a deal announced this year, and get paid a little extra again next year when the deal closes.

And hey, as long as we're on the topic, we might as well remind you that we need your contributions to our bonus watch. Let us know what you hear about who is getting what at tips (at) dealbreaker (dot) com.
Commentary: Beat the Clock (and Get a Double Bonus) [New York Times]

Related