Corporate Scandals and Capital Structure
58 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2009 Last revised: 29 Sep 2015
Date Written: December 12, 2010
We analyze whether companies involved in a securities class action suit (SCAS) exhibit differential capital structure decisions, and if the information revealed by a corporate scandal affects the security issuances and stock prices of industry peers. Our findings show that before a SCAS is filed, companies involved in a scandal show a greater amount of security offerings and, due to equity mispricing, are more likely to use equity as a financing mechanism. Following the SCAS filing, they exhibit decreasing amount of total external finance raised and lower levels of book and market leverage. Industry peers' issuance patterns exhibit significant contagion, with reduced debt and equity issuance following the SCAS filing. Corporate scandals have also meaningful negative effects on stock prices and bond ratings. Similarly to capital structure, we document contagion at the industry level with peers' share prices yielding negative returns as well.
Keywords: corporate scandals, security offerings, capital structure, contagion effect, market timing
JEL Classification: G32, G33, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation