Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.742242
Title: Institutional investors and hedge fund activism
Author: He, Yazhou
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
This thesis studies the institutional investor background in order to understand the working of hedge fund activism: how institutional investors affect hedge fund activists target selection and how activists share information and build alliances through social connections to achieve their goals. Chapter 2 utilizes a rich literature on institutional investors' governance roles and develops simple measures of institutional discontent expressed through holding, trading and voice channels, to predict hedge fund activism target selection. Discontent expressed through all three channels leads to subsequent targeting. Medium sized dissatisfied owners and sellers seem to be the main driving force, and institutions' discretionary disagreements on management compensation and governance related proposals have the highest explanatory power among other voice channels. Activists are more likely to gain higher announcement returns and threaten to take hostile actions against management with more discontented institutional investors in the target companies. Discontented institutions are more likely to vote pro-activist in the subsequent annual meetings after campaigns. Chapter 3 uses a social network framework to study information dissemination during activist campaigns. Actively managed funds whose managers are socially connected to the lead activist are more likely to increase their ownership in the target firms around the activist disclosure. In the cross sectional analysis, we find that the effect is stronger if the activists have better track records and if the ties are established via club membership, charity works, and other small circles. Connected institutions also earn significantly higher announcement returns relative to non-connected funds. The presence of connected institutions contributes to the activist's campaign success. Additional tests are performed to rule out alternative explanations such as fund manager ability or similarity in portfolio choices. Chapter 4 goes one step further to study alliance building among activist investors and institutional investors during the campaign period. A socially connected institution is 1.1 percentage points more likely to increase its ownership in the target firm during the campaign period, compared to funds that are not socially connected to the activist. We use a subsample that includes all institutions subject to M&As before activism events to identify plausibly exogenous shocks to social connections and find similar results. Furthermore, connected institutions also perform significantly better on their investments than non-connected institutions and they are more likely to vote pro-activist in routine proposals, especially director election proposals. The effect is stronger if connected institutions also purchase target stocks during a campaign. The thesis contributes to the literature by developing measures of revealed institutional governance preference based on theoretical and survey evidence in the literature. It also uncovers a channel through which hedge fund activists share information and build alliances and push for corporate changes facilitated by mutual benefits amongst their fellow institutional allies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.742242  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; HG Finance
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