Accounting Rules? Stock Buybacks and Stock Options: Additional Evidence
Journal of Contemporary Accounting & Economics (JCAE), Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 1-17, June 2010
Posted: 2 Jul 2010
This paper finds that CEO stock options influence the choice, amount, and timing of funds distributed as a buyback. These results favor a managerial opportunism motive for buybacks over other theories and support two key research expectations - that buybacks impose option-induced agency costs on outside shareholders, and that managers benefit from weak governance and unclear accounting in this choice. CEOs increase their insider selling following a buyback, which also supports a managerial opportunism perspective. Once we control for these agency factors, we find no evidence that buyback activity associates reliably with EPS accretion from the reduction in common shares. We conclude that the popular use of stock buybacks as a form of cash distribution derives significantly from a strong contemporaneous relation between buybacks and CEOs’ use of stock options as additional compensation.
Keywords: Stock buybacks, stock options, unclear accounting rules, corporate governance, agency costs, management compensation, managerial opportunism, market reaction
JEL Classification: G12, G30, G32, G34, G35, J33, M41
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