Stock splits as a manipulation tool: Evidence from mergers and acquisitions

Shourun Guo, Mark H. Liu, Weihong Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

We document that acquiring firms are more likely than nonacquiring firms to split their stocks before making acquisition announcements, especially when acquisitions are financed by stock and when the deals are large. Our findings support the hypothesis that some acquiring firms use stock splits to manipulate their equity values prior to acquisition announcements. Using earnings quality as a proxy for firms' intention to manipulate, we find that acquirers with low earnings quality (i.e., acquirers that are more likely to use stock splits to manipulate their stock values) have lower long-run stock returns compared with their benchmarks, especially when the deals are financed with stock. In contrast, acquirers with high earnings quality do not show that pattern.Our evidence complements and extends the findings in the literature that some acquirers manipulate their stock prices before stock-swap acquisitions. This study suggests that target shareholders should use information such as earnings quality and stock splits to discriminate among acquirers and ensure that exchanges are conducted on fair terms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-712
Number of pages18
JournalFinancial Management
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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