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Borrow Cheap, Buy High? The Determinants of Leverage and Pricing in Buyouts

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  • Ulf Axelson
  • Tim Jenkinson
  • Per Strömberg
  • Michael S. Weisbach

Abstract

This paper provides an empirical analysis of the financial structure of large buyouts. We collect detailed information on the financing of 1157 worldwide private equity deals from 1980 to 2008. Buyout leverage is cross-sectionally unrelated to the leverage of matched public firms, and is largely driven by factors other than what explains leverage in public firms. In particular, the economy-wide cost of borrowing is the main driver of both the quantity and the composition of debt in these buyouts. Credit conditions also have a strong effect on prices paid in buyouts, even after controlling for prices of equivalent public market companies. Finally, the use of high leverage in transactions negatively affects fund performance, controlling for fund vintage and other relevant characteristics. The results are consistent with the view that the availability of financing impacts booms and busts in the private equity market, and that agency problems between private equity funds and their investors can affect buyout capital structures.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15952.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: published as Ulf Axelson & Tim Jenkinson & Per Strömberg & Michael S. Weisbach, 2013. "Borrow Cheap, Buy High? The Determinants of Leverage and Pricing in Buyouts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(6), pages 2223-2267, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15952

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gregory, David, 2013. "Private equity and financial stability," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 53(1), pages 38-47.
  2. Colla, Paolo & Ippolito, Filippo & Wagner, Hannes F., 2012. "Leverage and pricing of debt in LBOs," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 124-137.
  3. Tykvová, Tereza & Borell, Mariela, 2012. "Do private equity owners increase risk of financial distress and bankruptcy?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 138-150.
  4. Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Ludovic Phalippou & Oliver Gottschalg, 2011. "Giants at the Gate: On the Cross-Section of Private Equity Investment Returns," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-035/2/DSF12, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Achleitner, Ann-Kristin & Braun, Reiner & Tappeiner, Florian, 2009. "Structure and determinants of financial covenants in leveraged buyouts - evidence from an economy with strong creditor rights," CEFS Working Paper Series 2009-15, Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS), Technische Universität München.
  6. Taylor D. Nadauld & Michael S. Weisbach, 2011. "Did Securitization Affect the Cost of Corporate Debt?," NBER Working Papers 16849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lily Fang & Victoria Ivashina & Josh Lerner, 2013. "Combining Banking with Private Equity Investing," NBER Working Papers 19300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Achleitner, Ann-Kristin & Braun, Reiner & Engel, Nico, 2011. "Value creation and pricing in buyouts: Empirical evidence from Europe and North America," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 146-161.
  9. Lily Fang & Victoria Ivashina & Josh Lerner, 2013. "The Disintermediation of Financial Markets: Direct Investing in Private Equity," NBER Working Papers 19299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. David T. Robinson & Berk A. Sensoy, 2011. "Cyclicality, Performance Measurement, and Cash Flow Liquidity in Private Equity," NBER Working Papers 17428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Cohn, Jonathan B. & Mills, Lillian F. & Towery, Erin M., 2014. "The evolution of capital structure and operating performance after leveraged buyouts: Evidence from U.S. corporate tax returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 469-494.
  12. Thorsten Knauer & Friedrich Sommer, 2012. "Interest barrier rules as a response to highly leveraged transactions: Evidence from the 2008 German business tax reform," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 11(2), pages 206-232, May.

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