Divesting Under Pressure: U.S. Firms' Exit in Response to Russia's War Against Ukraine
29 Pages Posted: 23 May 2022
Date Written: April 29, 2022
We explore the determinants and consequences of U.S. corporations limiting their business operations in Russia in the immediate aftermath of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Firms with Russian exposure experience slightly worse stock market returns when the invasion begins on February 24, 2022. Russia-exposed firms with the worst stock-price reactions to the war are more likely to subsequently withdraw or suspend their Russian operations, whereas firms that experience mild initial effects are more likely to remain. When U.S. firms announce exits from Russia in the aftermath of the invasion, there are no adverse announcement effects on their returns. Instead, exit announcements are preceded by a negative trend in abnormal returns that ends immediately on the day after the announcement. In regression analyses, immediately-preceding negative stock returns are the strongest predictor of firms' decisions to exit Russia. These results are consistent with firms choosing to limit their Russian presence in response to operational impact and reputational effects, and the damage to stock returns stops immediately after the exit announcements.
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