5 CEOs That Are Paid $1.3B to Get Lost

CEO Marissa Mayer gets an impressive $157.9 million even if Yahoo is sold off. So she wins no matter what happens to the Internet company. But a few CEOs get even more. Mayer is one of five CEOs in the Standard & Poor’s 500, including Stephen Wynn of casino operatorWynn Resorts, David Simon of real-estate investment trust Simon Property Group, David Zaslav of media company Discovery Communications and Terry Lundgren of department store operator Macy’s, that get the largest potential payouts if their companies are taken over, according to a USA Today analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.

Yahoo was in big trouble when Ms. Mayer arrived, Forbes observes. Growth had stalled, and its market was being chopped up by Google and Facebook. Its very relevancy was questionable as people no longer needed news consolidation sites—which had ended AOL, for example—and search with its ad placements had long gone to Google. Active Internet users were already clearly mobile social media fans, and Yahoo simply did not compete in that space.

How do CEOs manage such a lucrative end deal? Investors typically focus much more on what CEOs are paid than on golden parachutes. These arrangements—paid to most CEOs to disappear after their companies are bought out and new management brought in—are very common. Last fiscal year, 444 CEOs of S&P 500 companies had change-of-control severance payments in place, according to S&P Capital IQ. On average, the arrangements were worth $33.4 million for the CEOs.

These payments could become much more important to investors as merger and acquisition activity heats up and more companies could find themselves being bought in 2016, USA Today said.

 

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