Study finds young male CEOs more aggressive with mergers and acquisitions than older executivesA recent study by professors and a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia has uncovered an interesting new fact about business. Turns out it isn't just about market share, profit and customer satisfaction - the whole thing has a primal element, too.

The report, entitled "Deal or No Deal: Hormones and the Mergers and Acquisitions Game," found that high-testosterone males are more aggressive in business proceedings than their lower-testosterone or female counterparts, sometimes in ways that are even detrimental to the company.

The study found that young male CEOs were 4 percent more likely to be acquisitive and, if they initiate an acquisition, are 20 percent more likely to withdraw the offer if all of their demands are not met. Additionally, a young male CEO is 2 percent more likely to force a bidder to resort to a tender offer.

"Testosterone, a hormone associated with male dominance seeking, has been shown to influence prospects for a cooperative outcome of the ultimatum game," the report states. "Specifically, high-testosterone responders tend to reject low offers even though this is against their interest. It has been argued that this is consistent with a low offer being seen as dominance seeking."

The study wasn't perfect, however. The researchers used age rather than blood tests or other scientific measurements to gauge a CEO's testosterone level, although it is not true that in all cases a young man will have more testosterone than an older one.

"This raises an obvious question," writes Jay Hancock of the Baltimore Sun. "Maybe the behavior measured by the researchers resulted from inexperience, or a perceived need by younger men to seem more aggressive, rather than raging hormones per se."

Even so, maybe the research helps explain a surge in airline mergers and acquisitions. British Airways, for example, is run by 48-year-old Willie Walsh, a relatively young CEO who is looking to merge with as many 12 other airlines to expand the carrier's service to Asia.
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