Research in Finance: Volume 27


Table of contents

(15 chapters)
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Pages ix-xi
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The current volume in the Research in Finance series features an international set of contributors. The overall theme of the volume is a timely topic capturing one of the leading issues of the year “Recovering from Financial Crisis.”

Recent corporate scandals have led to legislative and regulatory responses that significantly increase the monitoring costs and other burdens of becoming or remaining a public corporation. As a result, there has been a substantial increase in going-private transactions, particularly among smaller public companies. Acquisitions and minority equity positions that allow large corporations to join with smaller companies have also increased. The pressures to go private are not entirely new, however. This chapter offers evidence that the current wave of post-Sarbanes–Oxley (SOX) restructuring via private equity firms is not a radical shift, but a continuation of already-established relationships between drops in the broad index of publicly traded equities, and subsequent increases in going-private activity (with evidence extending back more than two decades). When publicly traded equity falls, two things make major contribution to an increase in going-private transactions:•With equity prices down, it becomes cheaper to buy back the stock.•For investors with cash reserves holding for the arrival of new opportunities, taking a company private at reduced cost offers an attractive opportunity.

The evidence also suggests, though, that the passage of SOX is associated with an increased intensity in this longer-standing relationship (in other words, SOX has strengthened the older trend).

The main purpose of this chapter is to estimate a model for hedge fund returns that will endogenously generate failure probabilities using panel data where sample attrition due to fund failures is a dominant feature. We use the Lipper (TASS) hedge fund database, which includes all live and defunct hedge funds over the period January 1994 through March 2009, to estimate failure probabilities for hedge funds. Our results show that hedge fund failure prediction can be substantially improved by accounting for selectivity bias caused by censoring in the sample. After controlling for failure risk, we find that capital flow, lockup period, redemption notice period, and fund age are significant factors in explaining hedge fund returns. We also show that for an average hedge fund, failure risk increases substantially with age. Surprisingly, a 5-year-old fund on average has only a 65% survival rate.

The premise of this discussion is that private equity players intend to create real options that maximize the value derived from potential movement in the worth of the underlying business platform. This intended maximization occurs when the current value of the exercise instrument equals the current value of the underlying asset (so the option is at the money). It is also clear that when the time horizons of different arrangements tend to be consistent (as tends to happen in private equity arrangements) the attraction will be for higher volatility. The actions often criticized in the media are readily understandable in this context. For example, private equity partnerships are criticized for “borrowing heavily to buy companies, breaking them up, and selling off the pieces at huge profits.” Even before exiting, the private equity players separate the acquisitions into business units and asset pools. This changes an option on a portfolio into a portfolio of options, and we know from option pricing theory that the resulting position is worth more than the starting point.

Private equity partnerships also have been criticized for putting acquisitions into debt to receive dividends. Upon acquisition of a new business platform (perhaps composed of multiple business units) the private equity firm has paid a substantial premium for an option on a portfolio. After separating it into multiple options on different business units, the private equity firm might understandably want to sell assets that do not need to be owned (but could be leased instead), thereby reducing their equity investment and bringing the options closer to the money. Then additional borrowing (and withdrawal of dividends) again brings the options closer to the money.

In order to illustrate the nuances of private equity as real options, we include discussion of three recent cases, each illustrating one of the common paths followed in private equity.

Previous studies show that crude oil is negatively correlated with stocks but has almost the same rate of return as stocks, and so adding crude oil into a portfolio with equities can provide significant diversification benefits for the portfolio. Given the diversification benefit of crude oil mixed with equities, we examine the value effect of crude oil derivatives transactions by oil and gas producers. Differing from traditional corporate risk management literature, this study examines corporate derivatives transactions from the shareholders' diversification perspective. The results show that crude oil derivatives transactions by oil and gas producers do impact value. If oil and gas producing companies stop shorting crude oil derivatives contracts, company stock prices increase significantly. In contrast, if oil and gas producing companies initiate short positions in crude oil derivatives contracts, stock prices tend to drop (still significant, but less so). Thus, hedging by producers is not necessarily good. Transaction limitation is shown to be one of the possible sources of the value effect of corporate derivatives transactions.

We investigate whether external investment banks or internal key IPO insiders such as company directors and officers, venture capitalists and institutions that hold an IPO's stock serve as effective monitors of IPO investments over the post-IPO period. We measure median changes in each group's holdings for the sample, finding large changes in these values during a long-run holding period. We find that long-run buy-and-hold returns (BHARs) are positively related to the lead investment bank underwriter reputation and the gross spread demonstrating that the external monitoring by investment banking firms increases the post-IPO firm's value. Holding the underwriter reputation constant, we find that the BHARs are positively related to the gross spread, also indicative of the value of monitoring by external investment banks.

Existing approaches to the financial lease versus purchase decision assume, at least implicitly at the moment of the decision, that purchase entails ownership of the leasable asset over its entire remaining economic life. At any subsequent moment in time, however, if a firm already owns the leasable asset, it can retain long-term use of the asset by deciding to either retain ownership or enter into a sale and leaseback agreement. The purpose of this chapter is to detail the derivation of an innovative, yet intuitive, theoretical approach to analyze a firm's financial lease versus purchase decision in asset markets conducive to future sales and leaseback of owned assets.

We examine the empirical relationship between direct equity agency costs measures and corporate governance control mechanisms to control equity agency costs. We measure the three direct agency cost proxies commonly used in the literature: the operating expense; asset turnover; and selling, general, and administrative (SGA) ratios. Internal corporate governance control mechanisms examined are inside ownership (IO), outside ownership concentration (OC), the size of the board of directors (BODs), and the composition of the BODs (proportion of nonexecutive (NE) directors and separation of chief executive officer (CEO) and board chair). The external corporate governance control mechanism examined is the size of bank debt (short-term debt). Univariate and multivariate tests reveal that the only statistically significant relationship between corporate governance control mechanisms and direct equity agency cost measures is the negative relationship between the proportion of IO and direct agency costs. The asset utilization ratio (asset turnover) ratio is the best proxy for direct equity agency costs and can be useful for event studies of announcement period excess returns.

We develop an indicator of project uncertainty via the sensitivity of the IRR to any assumption regarding which performance scenario for the project is most relevant. The most relevant scenario represents the performance (into the future) that we should project (as compared to any we actually project). Our indicator is a measure one can regard as a form of absolute value of elasticity that we define as the ratio of an expected absolute value change in IRR, over differing scenarios, to a location parameter.

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Using a market model of international equity returns, which fully incorporates the regime switching and heteroskedasticity effects, we conduct an empirical study on the asymmetric behavior of 31 emerging equity markets across the different regimes of both the global and the local markets. Asymmetric correlation is found to be much weaker than that among developed markets as documented in the recent studies. There is little evidence of performance enhancement by possessing information on asymmetric correlation in international asset allocation strategies involving emerging markets.

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Book series
Research in Finance
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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