Share Buy-Backs: An Empirical Investigation
38 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2000
Date Written: May 2000
Studies of share repurchases, or share buy-backs as they are referred to in Australia, have been an important part of financial research. In addition, there is increasing interest in the relationship between legal regulation and finance. In this Research Report, we combine these areas of research and examine the effects of the changing legal regulation of share buy-backs in Australia. Prior to 1989 Australian companies were prohibited from repurchasing their shares, and until 1995 they were heavily regulated with few companies repurchasing their shares. In December 1995 the legal regulation of share buy-backs was simplified making it considerably easier for companies to repurchase their shares. The changing Australian regulation of share buy-backs provides a unique opportunity to test the effects of legal regulation on companies' financing decisions. In particular, we examine whether the highly regulated environment for share buy-backs that existed during 1989-95 meant that companies were unable to undertake buy-backs for the purpose of information signalling. In the less regulated environment, which existed after 1995, we examine whether companies have been able to undertake buy-backs for the purpose of information signalling. Our results indicate that the stringent regulation of share buy-backs during 1989-95 made them less effective as a credible signalling mechanism. Further, we find that the market generally reacts the most positively to on-market buy-backs, while the reaction to other types of share buy-backs is positive but not statistically significant. Finally, we also find that the abnormal returns earned by resource sector companies announcing share buy-backs are generally higher than the abnormal returns earned by share buy-backs announced by companies in the industrial and financial services sectors.
JEL Classification: G30, G32, G35
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation