Michael S. Weisbach

Michael S. Weisbach
The Ohio State University | OSU · Department of Finance

About

134
Publications
25,345
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25,921
Citations
Citations since 2016
26 Research Items
9568 Citations
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400

Publications

Publications (134)
Article
This paper evaluates how the relation between firms’ cash holdings and their acquisition decisions changes over macroeconomic cycles using a sample of 47,615 acquisitions from 36 countries between 1997 and 2014. Higher cash holdings and stronger macroeconomic conditions each increase the likelihood that a firm will make an acquisition. However, lar...
Article
Private investments in public equities (PIPEs) are an important source of finance for public corporations. PIPE investor returns decline with holding periods, while time to exit depends on the issue's registration status and underlying liquidity. We estimate PIPE investor returns adjusting for these factors. Our analysis, which is the first to esti...
Article
Using a large sample of institutional investors’ investments in private equity funds raised between 1991 and 2011, we estimate the extent to which investors’ skill affects their returns. Bootstrap analyses show that the variance of actual performance is higher than would be expected by chance, suggesting that some investors consistently outperform....
Article
This paper uses proprietary data from a leading intermediary to explain the magnitude and determinants of transaction costs in the secondary market for private equity stakes. Most transactions occur at a discount to net asset value. Buyers average an annualized public market equivalent of 1.023 compared with 0.976 for sellers, implying that buyers...
Article
We evaluate whether management risk, which arises from investors’ uncertainty about management’s added value, affects firms’ default risks and debt pricing. We find that, regardless of the reason for the turnover, CDS, loan, and bond yield spreads increase at the time of management turnover, when management risk is highest, and decline over the fir...
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Full-text available
This paper documents the existence of a CEO investment cycle, in which disinvestment decreases over a CEO's tenure, while investment increases, leading to “cyclical” firm growth in assets and employment. The estimated variation in investment rate over the CEO investment cycle is of the same order of magnitude as the differences caused by business c...
Article
Management risk occurs when uncertainty about future managerial decisions increases a firm’s overall risk. This paper argues that management risk is an important yet unexplored determinant of a firm’s default risk and the pricing of its debt. CDS spreads, loan spreads and bond yield spreads all increase at the time of CEO turnover, when management...
Article
Indirect incentives exist in the money management industry when good current performance increases future inflows of capital, leading to higher future fees. For the average hedge fund, indirect incentives are at least 1.4 times as large as direct incentives from incentive fees and managers' personal stakes in the fund. Combining direct and indirect...
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Full-text available
Risk generated by uncertainty about future management policies appears to affect firms' cost of borrowing. In a sample of S&P 1500 firms between 1987 and 2012, CDS spreads, loan spreads and bond yield spreads all decline over the first three years of CEO tenure, holding other macroeconomic, firm, and security level factors constant. This decline oc...
Article
Ensuring that a firm has sufficient liquidity to finance valuable projects that occur in the future is at the heart of the practice of financial management. However, although discussion of these issues goes back at least to Keynes (1936), a substantial literature on the ways in which firms manage liquidity has developed only recently. We argue that...
Article
A manager’s shareholders, board of directors, and potential future employers are continually assessing his ability. A rich literature has documented that this insight has profound implications for corporate governance because assessment generates incentives (good and bad), introduces assorted risks, and affects the various battles that rage among t...
Article
Uncertainty about management appears to affect firms’ cost of borrowing and financial policies. In a sample of S&P 1500 firms between 1987 and 2010, CDS spreads, loan spreads and bond yield spreads all decline over the first three years of CEO tenure, holding other macroeconomic, firm, and security level factors constant. This decline occurs regard...
Article
We evaluate the performance of limited partners’ (LPs) private equity investments over time. Using a sample of 14,380 investments by 1,852 LPs in 1,250 buyout and venture funds started between 1991 and 2006, we find that the superior performance of endowment investors in the 1991-1998 period, documented in prior literature, is mostly due to their g...
Article
When there is uncertainty about a CEO’s quality, news about the firm causes rational investors to update their expectation of the firm’s profitability for two reasons: Updates occur because of the direct effect of the news, and also because the news can cause an updated assessment of the CEO’s quality, affecting expectations of his ability to gener...
Article
Managers often claim that an important source of value in acquisitions is the acquiring firm’s ability to finance investments for the target firm. This claim implies that targets are financially constrained prior to being acquired and that these constraints are eased following the acquisition. We evaluate these predictions on a sample of 5,187 Euro...
Article
This paper documents the existence of a CEO Investment Cycle, in which disinvestment decreases over CEO tenure while investment increases, leading to “cyclical” firm growth in assets as well as in employment. The CEO investment cycle is present for both firings and non-performance related CEO turnovers. Its magnitude is substantial: the estimated d...
Article
Managers often claim that an important source of value in acquisitions is the acquiring firm's ability to finance investments for the target firm. This claim implies that targets are financially constrained prior to being acquired and that these constraints are eased following the acquisition. We evaluate these predictions on a sample of 5,187 Euro...
Article
Indirect incentives exist in the money management industry when good current performance increases future inflows of new capital, leading to higher future fees. We quantify the magnitude of indirect performance incentives for hedge fund managers. Flows respond quickly and strongly to performance; lagged performance has a monotonically decreasing im...
Article
The past decade has seen significant changes in the structure of the corporate lending market, with non-bank institutional investors playing larger roles than they historically have played. These non-bank institutional lenders typically have higher required rates of return than banks, but invest in the same loan facilities. We hypothesize that non-...
Article
This proposal is for a research project quantifying the total incentives of hedge fund managers.
Article
Managers often claim that an important source of value in acquisitions is the acquiring firm’s ability to finance investments for the target firm. This claim implies that targets are financially constrained prior to being acquired and that these constraints are eased following the acquisition. We evaluate the extent to which acquisitions lower fina...
Article
The past decade has seen significant changes in the structure of the corporate lending market, with non-commercial bank institutional investors playing larger roles than they historically have played. In addition, non-commercial bank institutional lenders are often equity holders in their borrowing firms. In our sample of 11,137 tranches of institu...
Article
Lifetime incomes of private equity general partners (GPs) are affected by their current funds' performance not only directly, through carried interest profit-sharing provisions, but also indirectly by the effect of the current fund's performance on GPs' abilities to raise capital for future funds. In the context of a rational learning model, which...
Article
Do macroeconomic conditions affect firms’ abilities to raise capital? If so, how do they affect the manner in which the capital is raised? We address these questions using a large sample of publicly-traded debt issues, seasoned equity offers, bank loans and private placements of equity and debt. Our results suggest that a borrower’s credit quality...
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Full-text available
When the transitory component of the stochastic discount factors (SDFs) prices the long-term bond, and the permanent component prices other assets, we develop lower bounds on the variance of the permanent component and the transitory component, and on the variance of the ratio of the permanent to the transitory components of SDFs. A salient feature...
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Full-text available
We propose a model in which firms use corporate governance as part of an optimal compensation scheme: better governance incentivizes managers to perform better and thus saves on the cost of providing pay for performance. However, when managerial talent is scarce, firms compete to attract better managers. This reduces an individual firm's incentives...
Article
Despite the fact that one-third of worldwide mergers involve firms from different countries, the vast majority of the academic literature on mergers studies domestic mergers. What little has been written about cross-border mergers has focused on public firms, usually from the United States. Yet, the vast majority of cross-border mergers involve pri...
Article
This paper investigates whether the securitization of corporate bank loans had an impact on the price of corporate debt. Our results suggest that loan facilities that are subsequently securitized are associated with a 15 basis point lower spread than that of loans that are not subsequently securitized. To identify the particular role of securitizat...
Article
This paper investigates whether the securitization of corporate bank loans had an impact on the price of corporate debt. Our results suggest that loan facilities that are subsequently securitized are associated witha 15 basis point lower spread than that of loans that are not subsequently securitized. To identify the particular role of securitizati...
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Full-text available
We show empirically that firms behave remarkably similarly to how their CEOs behave personally in the context of leverage choices. Using a database of CEOs' leverage in their most recent home purchases, we find a positive, economically significant, robust relation between personal home leverage and corporate leverage in the cross-section and when w...
Article
Economic theory, as well as commonly-stated views of practitioners, suggests that macroeconomic conditions can affect both the ability and manner in which firms raise external financing. Traditional theory focuses on the demand for capital and suggests that downturns are likely to be associated with a shift in the supply of securities toward less i...
Article
Full-text available
Lifetime incomes of private equity general partners are affected by their current funds’ performance through both carried interest profit sharing provisions, and also by the effect of the current fund’s performance on general partners’ abilities to raise capital for future funds. We present a learning-based framework for estimating the market-based...
Article
In public-policy discussions about corporate disclosure, more is typ-ically judged better than less. In particular, better disclosure is seen as a way to reduce the agency problems that plague firms. We show that this view is incomplete. In particular, our theoretical analysis shows that increased disclosure is a two-edged sword: More information p...
Article
This article, which introduces the special issue on corporate governance cosponsored by the Review of Financial Studies and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), reviews and comments on the state of corporate governance research. The special issue features seven articles on corporate governance that were presented in a meeting of the NBE...
Article
This paper is a survey of the literature on boards of directors, with an emphasis on research done subsequent to the Benjamin E. Hermalin and Michael S. Weisbach (2003) survey. The two questions most asked about boards are what determines their makeup and what determines their actions? These questions are fundamentally intertwined, which complicate...
Article
Full-text available
We develop a lower bound on the variance of the permanent component of stochastic discount factors (SDFs), a lower (upper) bound on the size of the permanent (transitory) component of SDFs, and a lower bound on the variance of the ratio of the permanent to the transitory component of SDFs. A salient feature of our variance bounds is that they incor...
Article
This paper provides an empirical analysis of the financial structure of large buyouts. We collect detailed information on the financing of 1157 worldwide private equity deals from 1980 to 2008. Buyout leverage is cross-sectionally unrelated to the leverage of matched public firms, and is largely driven by factors other than what explains leverage i...
Article
Incentives from the explicit fee structure ("two and twenty") of private equity funds understate the actual incentives facing private equity general partners because they ignore the rewards stemming from the effect of current performance on the ability to raise larger funds in the future. We evaluate the importance of these implicit incentives in t...
Article
This paper, which introduces the special issue on corporate governance co-sponsored by the Review of Financial Studies and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), reviews and comments on the state of corporate governance research. The special issue feature seven papers on corporate governance that were presented in a meeting of the NBER‘s...
Article
Full-text available
Economic theory, as well as commonly-stated views of practitioners, suggests that market downturns can affect both the ability and manner in which firms raise external financing. Theory suggests that downturns should be associated with a shift toward less information-sensitive securities, as well as a "flight to quality", in which firms can issue h...
Article
Despite the fact that one-third of worldwide mergers involve firms from different countries, the vast majority of the academic literature on mergers studies domestic mergers. What little has been written about cross-border mergers has focused on public firms, usually from the United States. Yet, the vast majority of cross-border mergers involve pri...
Article
This paper is a survey of the literature on boards of directors, with an emphasis on research done subsequent to the Hermalin and Weisbach (2003) survey. The two questions most asked about boards are what determines their makeup and what determines their actions? These questions are fundamentally intertwined, which complicates the study of boards d...
Article
Full-text available
for helpful comments. All remaining errors are ours.
Article
Private equity funds are important to the economy, yet there is little analysis explaining their financial structure. In our model the financial structure minimizes agency conflicts between fund managers and investors. Relative to financing each deal separately, raising a fund where the manager receives a fraction of aggregate excess returns reduce...
Article
Intuition suggests that firms with higher cash holdings are safer and should have lower credit spreads. Yet empirically the correlation between cash and spreads is robustly positive, and higher for lower credit ratings. This puzzling finding can be explained by the precautionary motive for saving cash. In our model endogenously determined optimal c...
Article
We study a model in which future financing constraints lead firms to have a preference for investments with shorter payback periods, investments with less risk, and investments that utilize more pledgeable assets. The model also shows how investment distortions towards more liquid, safer assets vary with the marginal cost of external financing and...
Article
Publicly-traded debt securities differ on a number of dimensions, including quality, maturity, seniority, security, and convertibility. Finance research has provided a number of theories as to why firms should issue debt with different features; yet, there is very little empirical work testing these theories. We consider a sample of 14,867 debt iss...
Article
Disclosure is widely assumed to play an important role in corporate governance. Yet governance has not been the focus of previous academic analyses of disclosure. We consider disclosure in the context of corporate governance. We argue that disclosure is a two-edged sword. On one side, disclosure of information permits principals to make better deci...
Article
This paper provides an empirical analysis of the financial structure of large recent buyouts. We collect detailed information of the financings of 153 large buyouts (averaging over $1 billion in enterprise value). We document the manner in which these important transactions are financed. Buyout leverage is cross-sectionally unrelated to the leverag...
Article
This paper examines the extent to which investment financing and market-timing explanations motivate public equity offers. We consider a sample of 16,958 initial public offerings and 12,373 seasoned equity offerings from 38 countries between 1990 and 2003. We provide estimates of the change in each accounting variable for each dollar raised in an e...
Article
Publicly-traded debt securities differ on a number of dimensions, including quality, maturity, seniority, security, and convertibility. Finance research has provided a number of theories as to why firms should issue debt with different features; yet, there is very little empirical work testing these theories. We consider a sample of 14,867 debt iss...
Article
Private equity funds are important to the economy, yet there is little analysis explaining their financial structure. In our model the financial structure minimizes agency conflicts between fund managers and investors. Relative to financing each deal separately, raising a fund where the manager receives a fraction of aggregate excess returns reduce...
Article
This essay reviews Lucian A. Bebchuk and Jesse M. Fried’s Pay without Performance: The Unfulfilled Promise of Executive Compensation . Bebchuk and Fried criticize the standard view of executive compensation, in which executives negotiate contracts with shareholders that provide incentives that motivate them to maximize the shareholders' welfare. In...
Article
An objective of many proposed corporate governance reforms is increased transparency. This goal has been relatively uncontroversial, as most observers believe increased transparency to be unambiguously good. We argue that, from a corporate governance perspective, there are likely to be both costs and benefits to increased transparency, leading to a...
Article
This paper provides an empirical analysis of the financial structure of large recent buyouts. We collect detailed information of the financings of 153 large buyouts (averaging over $1 billion in enterprise value). We document the manner in which these important transactions are financed. Buyout leverage is cross-sectionally unrelated to the leverag...
Article
We examine the extent to which firms from different countries rely on alternative sources of capital, the locations in which they raise capital, and the factors that affect these choices. During the 1990–2001 period, firms raised about $25.3 trillion of new capital, including $4.9 trillion from abroad. International debt issuances are substantially...
Article
Asset values often fall sharply once assets are placed outside of the …rm. When this happens, investors have fewer incentives to enforce their right to liquidate or reorganize the …rm. Instead, they may allow an underperforming business to continue and may even re…nance it under its current management. The problem that this creates is that …rm insi...
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In light of recent corporate scandals, numerous proposals have been introduced for reforming corporate governance. This paper provides a theoretical framework through which to evaluate these reforms. Unlike various ad hoc arguments, this framework recognizes that governance structures arise endogenously in response to the constrained optimization p...
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Economics, 1988. Bibliography: leaves 152-153. by Michael Steven Weisbach. Ph.D.
Article
In light of the publicity accorded recent corporate scandals, numerous proposals have been introduced for reforming corporate governance. This paper provides a theoretical framework through which to evaluate these reforms. Unlike various ad hoc arguments that have been made, this framework recognizes that gover-nance structures arise endogenously i...
Article
This paper examines optimal capital structure choice using a dynamic capital structure model that is calibrated to reflect actual firm characteristics. The model uses contingent claim methods to value interest tax shields, allows for reorganization in bankruptcy, and maintains a long-run target debt to total capital ratio by refinancing maturing de...
Article
This paper considers the question of whether raising capital is an important reason why firms go public. Using a sample of 16,958 initial public offerings from 38 countries between 1990 and 2003, we consider differences between firms that sell new, primary shares to the public, and existing secondary shares that previously belonged to insiders. Our...
Article
We create a dynamic model in which a self-interested, risk-averse manager makes corporate investment decisions at a levered firm with characteristics typical of public US firms. We examine the magnitude of distortions in those decisions when a new project changes firm risk and find expected changes in the values of future tax shields and bankruptcy...
Article
In a sample of California hospitals, we find that the composition of the board of directors varies systematically across ownership types. For all ownership types, except government-owned, we find that poor financial performance is related to board and CEO turnover. However, different ownership types place different weights on levels of charity care...
Article
The evolution of technology causes human capital to become obsolete. We study this phenomenon in an overlapping generations setting, assuming that technology evolves stochastically and that older workers find updating uneconomic. Experience and learning by doing may offer the old some income protection, but technology advance always turns them into...
Article
We model a firm's demand for liquidity to develop a new test of the effect of financial constraints on corporate policies. The effect of financial constraints is captured by the firm's propensity to save cash out of cash flows (the "cash flow sensitivity of cash"). We hypothesize that constrained firms should have a positive cash flow sensitivity o...
Article
The authors identify the primary findings of the empirical literature on boards of directors. Typically, these studies have sought to answer one of the following questions: How are the characteristics of the board related to profitability? How do these characteristics affect boards' observable actions? What factors affect board makeup and evolution...
Article
In this paper, we review the literature on private benefits and cross-listings in the United States. We first discuss the alternative approaches used to measure private benefits. We then survey recent evidence documenting cross-country differences in the levels of private benefits obtained by corporate managers, as well as the country-specific fact...
Article
This paper examines optimal capital structure choice using a dynamic capital structure model that is calibrated to reflect actual firm characteristics. The model uses contingent-claim methods to value interest tax shields, allows for reorganization in bankruptcy, and maintains a long-run target debt/equity ratio by refinancing maturing debt. Using...
Article
This paper proposes a theory of corporate liquidity demand and provides new evidence on corporate cash policies. Firms have access to valuable investment opportunities, but potentially cannot fund them with the use of external finance. Firms that are financially unconstrained can undertake all positive NPV projects regardless of their cash position...
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A key assumption in the existing theoretical work on Þrm Þnancial constraints is that these constraints translate entirely into higher costs of funds. This approach poses two types of difficulties for research on corporate investment. First, it inadvertently narrows our under-standing about the impact of Þnancial constraints on investment since, in...
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Full-text available
Evolution of technology causes human capital to become obsolete. We study this phenomenon in an overlapping generations setting, assuming it is hard to predict how technology will evolve, and that older workers find updating uneconomic. Among our results is the proposition that (under certain conditions) a more rapid pace of technological advance i...
Article
This paper studies the governance of a sample of California hospitals. We document a number of empirical relations about hospital governance: The composition of the board of directors varies systematically across ownership types; poor performance and low levels of uncompensated care increase board turnover, with this sensitivity varying by organiza...

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