We analyze data on fees paid to investment bankers and acquisition premia paid for targets in cash tender offers. Our results are broadly consistent with the predictions of a benign view of the role of investment banks in advising acquisition targets. Fees to investment banks are correlated with attributes of transactions and target firms in ways that make sense if banks are being paid for processing information. The more contingent (and, therefore, risky) the fees, the higher they tend to be, all else held constant. Variation in acquisition premia also can be explained by fundamental deal attributes. Contrary to the jaundiced view of fairness opinions, greater fixity of fees is not associated with higher acquisition premia, and there is no evidence that investment banks are suborned by acquirors with whom they have had a prior banking relationship.
This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the article published in final form at the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.