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The Real Effects of Hedge Fund Activism: Productivity, Risk, and Product Market Competition

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  • Alon Brav
  • Wei Jiang
  • Hyunseob Kim

Abstract

This paper studies the long-term effect of hedge fund activism on the productivity of target firms using plant-level information from the U.S. Census Bureau. A typical target firm improves its production efficiency within two years after activism, and this improvement is concentrated in industries with a high degree of product market competition. By following plants that were sold post-intervention we also find that efficient capital redeployment is an important channel via which activists create value. Furthermore, our analyses demonstrate that measuring performance using the Compustat data is likely to lead to a downward bias because target firms experiencing greater improvement post-intervention are also more likely to disappear from the Compustat database. Finally, consistent with recent work in asset-pricing linking firm investment decisions and expected returns, we show how changes to target firms’ productivity are associated with a decline in systemic risk, particularly in competitive industries.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17517.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17517

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  1. Marco Becht & Julian Franks & Colin Mayer & Stefano Rossi, 2010. "Returns to Shareholder Activism: Evidence from a Clinical Study of the Hermes UK Focus Fund," NBER Chapters, in: Corporate Governance National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selale Tuzel, 2011. "Firm Level Productivity, Risk, and Return," 2011 Meeting Papers 21, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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