The Insignificance of Clear-Day Poison Pills
50 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2016 Last revised: 20 Nov 2018
Date Written: September 7, 2016
Exploiting a hand-collected database with almost 2200 firms during 1996-2014, I analyze the relationship between the presence of poison pills and firm value. Consistent with earlier results, I document a strong negative association between pills and firm value cross-sectionally and within firm. However, I document that (a) all the within-firm association is driven by pill adoptions (and none by the dropping of pills); (b) all the drop in value associated with adoptions precedes the pills’ adoption; and (c) firms adopted their pill after experiencing drops in their operating performance. These results indicate that the ostensive negative effect of pills on firm value is due to a spurious correlation, and that prior analyses were incorrect in concluding that pill adoptions are harmful and indicative of “bad governance”. Moreover, the results question the usefulness of the dramatic drop in the incidence of pills that took place during the last decade.
Keywords: Corporate Governance; Law and Finance; Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions; Poison Pills; Takeovers; Anti-Takeover Devices
JEL Classification: G32, G34, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation