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The Bureau of Economics in the Federal Trade Commission has a three-part role in the Agency and the strength of its functions changed over time depending on the preferences and ideology of the FTC’s leaders, developments in the field of economics, and the tenor of the times. The over-riding current role is to provide well considered, unbiased economic advice regarding antitrust and consumer protection law enforcement cases to the legal staff and the Commission. The second role, which long ago was primary, is to provide reports on investigations of various industries to the public and public officials. This role was more recently called research or “policy R&D”. A third role is to advocate for competition and markets both domestically and internationally. As a practical matter, the provision of economic advice to the FTC and to the legal staff has required that the economists wear “two hats,” helping the legal staff investigate cases and provide evidence to support law enforcement cases while also providing advice to the legal bureaus and to the Commission on which cases to pursue (thus providing “a second set of eyes” to evaluate cases). There is sometimes a tension in those functions because building a case is not the same as evaluating a case. Economists and the Bureau of Economics have provided such services to the FTC for over 100 years proving that a sub-organization can survive while playing roles that sometimes conflict. Such a life is not, however, always easy or fun.
The preceeding article has examined some of the motivations behind the high premiums offered shareholders of target firms in acquisitions and mergers. In essence, the…
The preceeding article has examined some of the motivations behind the high premiums offered shareholders of target firms in acquisitions and mergers. In essence, the acquirers appear to be looking for gains largely through enhanced efficiency of operations or by the replacement of inefficient management.
Increases in stockholder wealth around leveraged recapitalization (recap) announcements are related more to reductions in the firm's financial slack than improvements in…
Increases in stockholder wealth around leveraged recapitalization (recap) announcements are related more to reductions in the firm's financial slack than improvements in operating efficiency. Moreover, while recaps significantly reduce the firm's workforce and asset base, they do not improve operating profitability. These results support the argument (often espoused by non‐finance writers) that the market for corporate control is inefficient and, in many cases, outright destructive. Alternative systems of corporate governance should be explored.
This research uses accounting information to supplement abnormal returns evidence in order to gauge the performance of greenmailed firms. Our results support the…
This research uses accounting information to supplement abnormal returns evidence in order to gauge the performance of greenmailed firms. Our results support the management entrenchment hypothesis; target firm earnings are poor relative to industry in the years surrounding the greenmail event, and earnings do not significantly improve as would be expected under the shareholders' interest hypothesis. This result holds after adjusting for greenmail premia net of tax effects. Evidence on investment spending suggests firms that pay greenmail differ substantially from their industries, but in a negative direction. In contrast, the industry‐adjusted earnings of non‐greenmail repurchasing firms are significantly greater than the earnings of greenmailed firms. Together, these results are consistent with the contention that greenmailed firms are not managed in shareholders' interests; they underperform their industry, the poor operating results are not attributable to higher investment outlays associated with a long‐term strategic focus, and performance does not improve. This is consistent with observed negative abnormal returns being attributable to both a lost takeover premium and a lost opportunity for improved corporate performance.
The purpose of this study is to determine if an earnings forecasting model based on factors hypothesised to result in differential profits across firms (industries…
The purpose of this study is to determine if an earnings forecasting model based on factors hypothesised to result in differential profits across firms (industries) reduces model error relative to the model developed by Ou (1990). Initial research attempting to forecast earnings found that the random walk model, where current year's earnings are the prediction for next year, provides the best forecast of annual earnings (Ball and Watts 1972; Foster 1973; Beaver, Kettler, and Scholes 1970; Albrecht, Lookabill, and McKeown 1977; Brealey 1969). Ou (1990) developed an earnings forecasting model using financial statement information beyond prior years' earnings as the explanatory variables that outperformed the random walk model in predicting annual earnings.
This paper examines whether financial buyers are more likely to initiate takeovers of inefficient firms. We show that they indeed are and thus conclude that takeovers by…
This paper examines whether financial buyers are more likely to initiate takeovers of inefficient firms. We show that they indeed are and thus conclude that takeovers by financial buyers play a potentially beneficial role in the allocation of corporate assets in the US. economy. Our analysis of determinants of takeovers initiated by financial buyers uses an application of the methodology developed in Trimbath, Frydman and Frydman (2001). In order to illustrate efficiency enhancements introduced by financial buyers, we select Forstmann Little’s acquisition of General Instrument for a brief case study. We show that their aggressive programs of cost management substantially improved the efficiency of General Instrument. Moreover, it allowed General Instrument to expand research and development to become the global leader in high definition television.