University of Sussex
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Managing uncertainty in the process of going public

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posted on 2023-06-09, 00:51 authored by Antonios Kallias
This thesis explores the potential of novel mechanisms towards the reduction of issuers’ ex ante uncertainty in the process of going public: i) the recruitment of directors with exceptional academic backgrounds and ii) obtaining credit ratings. Given the information scarcity in the private domain, IPO firms can use these strategies to provide investors with solid, readily identifiable benchmarks to assess their standing. Notwithstanding whether these informational cues are associated with positive or negative prospects, they cause a significant portion of uncertainty in valuation to subside. Ultimately, this should act to constrain the phenomenon of IPO underpricing causing firms to claim a larger portion of the surplus value created on the issue day. First, we examine whether CEO educational and professional attainments are associated with short-run IPOs performance. We find that returns are negatively associated with Ivy-League education, the existence of at least one University degree and the total number of qualifications. After controlling for endogeneity and self-selection bias, the results show that at the graduate level of education the Master of Arts, the MBA, the Juris and Medical Doctor titles exhibit negative relation with the money left on the table. The same is true for any professional qualification. It is also reported that only in the case of the PhD title the Nobel Elite group of Universities outperforms the rest of the sample. Second, we examine the effect of multiple credit ratings on IPO performance. The evidence comes from the U.S. and shows that the acquisition of credit ratings constitutes a valid investment decision for the issuing firm as it leaves less money on the table. Both individual as well as any combination of ratings from the three largest agencies associates with lower underpricing. This effect exacerbates with higher grade levels which are also found to decrease initial returns. Additionally, rated IPOs systematically experience negative filing price revisions. The results offer new insight to the facilitation of the going public process. Finally, we contribute to the large literature associating IPOs with earnings management. In this respect, we explore a special niche, i.e. politically connected firms. A priori, these issuers can be expected to refrain from discretionary accruals manipulation to avoid causing discontent to their contacts. Alternatively, the case may be that the powerful acquaintances fuel managers with overconfidence which permeates the financial statements. Assembling a hand-collected database on firms’ political donations, we come up with strong support for the latter conjecture. In particular lobbying activity and candidate campaign financing are both shown to be among the important determinants of aggressiveness in reporting. Our findings tie in with a growing body of literature showing businesses actively involved in politics to be prone to abuses and professional misconduct.


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  • Business and Management Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • eng


University of Sussex

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