Asymmetric Valuation of Sustained Growth by Debt- and Equity-Holders

50 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2008 Last revised: 17 Mar 2015

See all articles by John A. Elliott

John A. Elliott

University of Connecticut - Department of Accounting

Doocheol Moon

SUNY at Old Westbury - School of Business

Al (Aloke) Ghosh

UNC Charlotte

Date Written: February 1, 2008

Abstract

Viewing equity as a call option on the firm's assets with a strike price equal to contractual debt obligations yields an asymmetric prediction on how debt and equity markets view sustained growth. Debt holders are expected to benefit from sustained growth when the default risk is high, while equity holders value such growth when risk is low. Using Altman's Z-score and debt ratings as alternative proxies for the default risk, we document a negative association between bond yield spreads and sustained growth in earnings for firms with high risk only. In sharp contrast, using earnings multiples from returns-earnings regressions as a proxy for equity market rewards, we find earnings multiples are larger when earnings growth is sustained for the low risk sample only. Decomposing earnings growth into revenue and non-revenue growth, we find that the debt market rewards for firms with revenue growth are confined to the high risk sample only, while non-revenue growth firms are not rewarded for either sample. Equity investors value revenue-led earnings growth for low and high risk samples while non-revenue growth is rewarded for the low risk sample only. Our study adds to our understanding of how changes in firm value from sustained earnings and revenue growth are divided between key providers of capital and how default risk plays an instrumental role in this valuation process.

Keywords: cost of debt, sustained earnings growth, defualt risk

JEL Classification: M41, G12, G33, G32

Suggested Citation

Elliott, John A. and Moon, Doocheol and Ghosh, Al (Aloke), Asymmetric Valuation of Sustained Growth by Debt- and Equity-Holders (February 1, 2008). Review of Accounting Studies, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1091279 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1091279

John A. Elliott

University of Connecticut - Department of Accounting ( email )

School of Business
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States
860-486-5524 (Phone)

Doocheol Moon

SUNY at Old Westbury - School of Business ( email )

Old Westbury, NY 11568-0210
United States

Al (Aloke) Ghosh (Contact Author)

UNC Charlotte ( email )

9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.alokeghosh.com

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