The Market Performance of Tracking Stocks
43 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2000
Date Written: February 2001
Tracking stocks have been a popular form of equity restructuring in recent years. AT&T, Disney, General Motors, Sprint, US West, and many others have issued tracking stocks. While the positive announcement returns of tracking stocks are well documented, an examination of their post-issue market performance is lacking. This paper examines the post-issue returns and the subsequent restructuring events through December 2000 by using a comprehensive sample of tracking stocks. We document three key results. First, we find that tracking stocks earn significantly negative buy-and-hold excess returns during a three-year period following the issue date. We also find significantly negative returns surrounding the earnings announcements during this period. This evidence contrasts with the post-issue returns of spinoffs, which are known to be positive, and of carveouts, which are known to be insignificant. Second, contrary to a common justification given to adopt tracking stocks, we find that they do not increase the transparency of firm earnings. Third, we find large positive announcement-period returns to events resulting in the elimination of tracking stock structure.
JEL Classification: G32, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation