fromfriendstodating com - Journal backdating

, we analyze the excess returns that occurred in short windows surrounding ten distinct news events related to backdating of stock option grants.

Our analysis focuses on 129 firms identified by the Wall Street Journal as implicated in the backdating scandal as of December 31, 2006.

Conversely, variables one would expect to be related to the magnitude of direct out-of-pocket expenses, namely the number of past grants and/or their value, are not significantly related or are positively related to shareholders’ wealth effects, inconsistent with the direct cost hypothesis.

In addition, consistent with this interpretation, the occurrence of government investigations or delisting notices have no incremental explanatory power, after controlling for firms’ likely culpability.

Under this hypothesis, the losses generated by the option backdating scandal can arise because management’s involvement in backdating practices may prompt investors to reassess the agency costs stemming from the separation of ownership and control.

A series of multivariate show that measures we expect to be related to the effect of the scandal on the value of firms’ reputational capital and information risk are significantly related to changes in shareholders’ wealth.

We find that the losses are attenuated when tainted management of less successful firms is more likely to be replaced.

We also find that institutional investors reduce their holdings in firms accused of backdating, possibly due to higher monitoring costs, and that firms involved in the scandal are very likely (10% of the sample) to receive arguably fair takeover offers.

We independently identify 764 firm specific backdating-related news events taking place on 580 separate firm-dates.

For the first news event (typically the announcement of an internal investigation by the firm), we find a statistically significant excess return of about -4.50% in the -20 to -2 window and -2.40% in the -1 to 1 window.

Alternatively, a letter might be backdated to make it appear that information was provided, or an offer accepted, before the relevant deadline.

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