IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Valuation of underwriting agreements for UK rights issues: evidence from the traded option market

Listed author(s):
  • Francis Breedon
  • Ian Twinn

A recent study by Professor Marsh of the London Business School has estimated that sub-underwriters of rights issues (firms that commit to buy up any remaining shares at the end of a rights issue) make an excess profit of 86% of the fee they charge. Because of this study, the OFT (who originally commissioned it) have argued that underwriting is too expensive and have encouraged firms to reconsider their issuance techniques. Marsh's study, however, is based on a number of assumptions that are unlikely to hold in practice. In particular, Marsh used the Black and Scholes option pricing formula to value the economic cost of underwriting (underwriting is like a put option since it gives the firm the right but not the obligation to sell shares to the underwriter). But it is well known that the Black and Scholes formula is based on a high unrealistic view of financial markets with no transactions costs and no information asymmetries. To make a more realistic estimate of the economic cost of underwriting, this paper looks at the cost of buying put options in the traded option market. This does not mean that buying a put option in the traded option market is a viable alternative to underwriting it simply allows for a more realistic measure of transactions costs. By looking at the price of put options on firms who have just announced a rights issue the paper funds, unsurprisingly, that the true cost of put options was much higher than the Black and Scholes formula predicted. However, it still found that underwriters made an abnormal profit, even if it was only 40% of the fee rather than 86%.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 39.

in new window

Date of creation: Sep 1995
Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:39
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH

Phone: +44 (0)171 601 4030
Fax: +44 (0)171 601 5196
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Breedon, F J & Fisher, P G, 1996. "M0: Causes and Consequences," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 64(4), pages 371-387, December.
  2. Quah, Danny & Vahey, Shaun P, 1995. "Measuring Core Inflation?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1130-1144, September.
  3. Smith, Jennifer C, 1996. "Wage Interactions: Comparisons or Fall-Back Options?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 495-506, March.
  4. Roger Beaton & Paul Fisher, 1995. "The Construction of RPIY," Bank of England working papers 28, Bank of England.
  5. Joanna Paisley & Chris Salmon, 1995. "How Cyclical is the PSBR?," Bank of England working papers 34, Bank of England.
  6. David Barr & Bahram Pesaran, 1995. "An assessment of the relative importance of real interest rates, inflation and term premia in determining the prices of real and nominal UK bonds," Bank of England working papers 32, Bank of England.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:39. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Digital Media Team)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.