Corporate Financing Decisions When Investors Take the Path of Least Resistance

51 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2005 Last revised: 22 Jul 2010

See all articles by Malcolm P. Baker

Malcolm P. Baker

Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joshua D. Coval

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeremy C. Stein

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2004

Abstract

We explore the consequences for corporate financial policy that arise when investors exhibit inertial behavior. One implication of investor inertia is that, all else equal, a firm pursuing a strategy of equity-financed growth will prefer a stock-for-stock merger to greenfield investment financed with an SEO. With a merger, acquirer stock is placed in the hands of investors, who, because of inertia, do not resell it all on the open market. If there is downward-sloping demand for acquirer shares, this leads to less price pressure than an SEO, and cheaper equity financing as a result. We develop a simple model to illustrate this idea, and present supporting empirical evidence. Both individual and institutional investors tend to hang on to shares granted them in mergers, with this tendency being much stronger for individuals. Consistent with the model and with this cross-sectional pattern in inertia, acquirers targeting firms with high institutional ownership experience more negative announcement effects and greater announcement volume. Moreover, the results are strongest when the overlap in target and acquirer institutional ownership is low and when the demand curve for the acquirer's shares appears to be steep.

Suggested Citation

Baker, Malcolm P. and Coval, Joshua D. and Stein, Jeremy C., Corporate Financing Decisions When Investors Take the Path of Least Resistance (December 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=637495

Malcolm P. Baker (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6566 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/mbaker

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Joshua D. Coval

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeremy C. Stein

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-6455 (Phone)
617-496-7352 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/stein/stein.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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