The Effects of Cash, Debt, and Insiders on Open Market Share Repurchases
11 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2013
Date Written: Winter 2013
The findings of the authors' recent study suggest, on balance, that stock repurchases function much like tax‐efficient special dividends, increasing when free cash flow is large and when debt levels are low, but not replacing regularly scheduled dividends. Repurchasing companies experience median event returns of about 2% around the repurchase announcements, with a related mean effect of roughly 3%. Companies with greater free cash flow and less debt are more likely than otherwise comparable companies to repurchase their shares. Furthermore, repurchasing companies that exhibit substandard preannouncement stock price returns and seek to buy back higher percentages of shares tend to elicit more positive stock price reactions. At the same time, the study provides some evidence that corporate managers attempt to use their inside information to profit from buybacks. For example, managing insiders in repurchasing firms decrease their selling activity and increase their buying activity two weeks before repurchase announcements to a greater extent than non‐managing insiders. But perhaps the most remarkable finding from this part of the study is how little insiders as a group seem to profit from their short‐term trading behavior - a finding that suggests that the market appears to anticipate much of this behavior.
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