Essays in Hedge Fund Activism Networks and Corporate Governance
Foroughi, Pouyan. “Essays in Hedge Fund Activism Networks and Corporate Governance”. PhD, Boston College, 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:107614.
In the first essay, In this paper, I examine how the connections between activist hedge funds and other institutional investors affect the activist campaigns. I identify a positive causal effect of long-term relationships with other investors on the short-run and long-run performance of activists' target companies. Overall, my results highlight that connections to other institutional investors benefit institutional asset managers. In the second essay, we show that firms in the same board-interlock networks tend to have similar corporate governance practices. We utilize a novel instrument based on staggered adoptions of universal demand laws across states to identify causal peer effects in firms' decisions to adopt various governance provisions. The impact of universal demand laws on the incentives faced by directors as they seek to maximize their career outcomes is a likely mechanism explaining these effects. In the third essay, I investigate whether hedge funds employ short sales to mask their exiting intention when they engage in shareholder activism. Using a hand-collected sample, I find that the probability of a spike in short interest before exit announcements is higher in firms targeted by activists who have a history of short interest increase in their previous targets. According to my findings, the hypothesis is that these hedge funds are more likely to use short sales since they are more concerned about locking their profit and not taking the risk of exit announcements. Overall, this paper provides new evidence of a possible exiting strategy: Silent Exiting via short selling.