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Good news and bad news about share repurchases

  • George W. Fenn
  • Nellie Liang
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    We estimate the cross-sectional relationship between open market repurchases and accounting data for a large sample of dividend- paying and non-dividend paying firms over a twelve year period (1984-95). Consistent with the hypothesis that firms use open market repurchases to reduce the agency costs of free cash flow, we find that repurchases are positively related to proxies for free cash flow and negatively related to proxies for marginal financing costs. We also examine the extent to which management stock options influence the choice between open market repurchases and dividend payments. Because the value of management stock options--like any call option--is negatively related to expected future dividend payments, management can increase the value of its stock options by substituting share repurchases for dividend growth. We find evidence that such substitution occurs: for dividend-paying firms, share repurchases are positively related and dividend increases are negatively related to a proxy for management stock options, whereas for non-dividend-paying firms, the relationship between repurchases and options is weak and statistically insignificant.

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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1998/199804/199804abs.html
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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1998/199804/199804pap.pdf
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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 1998-04.

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    Date of creation: 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1998-04
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    1. Smith, Clifford Jr. & Warner, Jerold B., 1979. "On financial contracting : An analysis of bond covenants," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 117-161, June.
    2. Comment, Robert & Jarrell, Gregg A, 1991. " The Relative Signalling Power of Dutch-Auction and Fixed-Price Self-Tender Offers and Open-Market Share Repurchases," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1243-71, September.
    3. Ofer, Aharon R & Thakor, Anjan V, 1987. " A Theory of Stock Price Responses to Alternative Corporate Cash Disbursement Methods: Stock Repurchases and Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 365-94, June.
    4. Dann, Larry Y., 1981. "Common stock repurchases : An analysis of returns to bondholders and stockholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 113-138, June.
    5. Smith, Clifford Jr. & Watts, Ross L., 1992. "The investment opportunity set and corporate financing, dividend, and compensation policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 263-292, December.
    6. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
    7. David Yermack, 1996. "Good Timing: CEO Stock Option Awards and Company News Announcements," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 96-41, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
    8. David Ikenberry & Josef Lakonishok & Theo Vermaelen, 1994. "Market Underreaction to Open Market Share Repurchases," NBER Working Papers 4965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Chowdhry, Bhagwan & Nanda, Vikram, 1994. "Repurchase Premia as a Reason for Dividends: A Dynamic Model of Corporate Payout Policies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(2), pages 321-50.
    10. Lambert, Richard A. & Lanen, William N. & Larcker, David F., 1989. "Executive Stock Option Plans and Corporate Dividend Policy," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 409-425, December.
    11. Michael J. Barclay & Clifford W. Smith & Ross L. Watts, 1995. "The Determinants Of Corporate Leverage And Dividend Policies," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 7(4), pages 4-19.
    12. Laurie Simon Bagwell & John B. Shoven, 1988. "Share Repurchases and Acquisitions: An Analysis of Which Firms Participate," NBER Chapters, in: Corporate Takeovers: Causes and Consequences, pages 191-220 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Kaplan, Steven, 1989. "The effects of management buyouts on operating performance and value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 217-254.
    14. Lehn, Kenneth & Poulsen, Annette, 1989. " Free Cash Flow and Stockholder Gains in Going Private Transactions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(3), pages 771-87, July.
    15. Kenneth Lehn & Annette Poulsen, 1989. "Free Cash Flow and Stockholder Gains in Going Private Transactions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(3), pages 771-787, 07.
    16. Vermaelen, Theo, 1984. "Repurchase Tender Offers, Signaling, and Managerial Incentives," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(02), pages 163-181, June.
    17. Clifford P. Stephens & Michael S. Weisbach, 1998. "Actual Share Reacquisitions in Open-Market Repurchase Programs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(1), pages 313-333, 02.
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