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HFRC Working Paper Series

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Alle Working Papers

Firm Valuation

Decentralized finance, crypto funds, and value creation in tokenized firms

Douglas Cumming, Niclas Dombrowski, Wolfgang Drobetz, Paul P. Momtaz
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 05/2022
Crypto Funds (CFs) represent a novel investor type in entrepreneurial finance. CFs intermediate Decentralized Finance (DeFi) markets by pooling contributions from crowd-investors and investing in tokenized startups, combining sophisticated venture- and hedge-style investment strategies. We compile a unique dataset combining token-based crowdfunding (or Initial Coin Offerings, ICOs) data with proprietary performance data of CFs. CF-backed startup ventures obtain higher ICO valuations, outperform their peers in the long run, and benefit from token price appreciation around CF investment disclosure in the secondary market. Moreover, CFs beat the market by roughly 2.5% per month. Their outperformance is persistent, suggesting that CFs deliver abnormal returns because of skill, rather than luck. These performance effects for CFs and CF-backed startups are driven by a fund’s investor network centrality. Overall, our study paves the way for research on what some refer to as the “crypto fund revolution” in entrepreneurial finance.

Valuing start-up firms: A reverse-engineering approach for fair-value multiples from venture capital transactions

Johannes Barg, Wolfgang Drobetz, Paul P. Momtaz
Finance Research Letters | 03/2021 | Forthcoming
The valuation of start-up firms is challenging, yet highly relevant for entrepreneurs and financiers alike. We reverse-engineer fair-value multiples by comparing the firm value at the time of financing with the firm value at the time of exit. Our framework produces reliable valuation multiples from observed venture capital transactions per industry and financing round. Despite their simplicity, sanity checks confirm that our multiples are highly performant in describing common valuation characteristics. Valuation multiples are higher when more experienced investors are involved, and when the exit occurs through an IPO rather than an M&A. In contrast, later stage financing rounds and larger investment consortia are associated with lower valuation multiples.

Institutional ownership and firm performance in the global shipping industry

Wolfgang Drobetz, Sebastian Ehlert, Henning Schröder
Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review | 01/2021 | Forthcoming
We examine the effect of institutional investors on the valuation of listed shipping firms. Institutional investors have a positive influence on the market value of shipping firms, confirming that institutional ownership is a “universal” corporate governance mechanism. This valuation effect is more pronounced in firms dominated by institutional investors with a short-term investment horizon. It is also stronger in firms with high stock liquidity, suggesting that short-term investors, through the threat of exit, are able to mitigate agency conflicts and improve corporate governance. Investment regressions indicate that shipping firms with a larger fraction of short-term investors are better able to exploit growth opportunities.

The economics of law enforcement: Quasi-experimental evidence from corporate takeover law

Gishan Dissanaike, Wolfgang Drobetz, Paul P. Momtaz, Jörg Rocholl
Journal of Corporate Finance | 12/2020 | Forthcoming
This paper examines the impact of takeover law enforcement on corporate acquisitions. We use the European Takeover Directive as a natural experiment, which harmonizes takeover law across countries, while leaving its enforcement to the discretion of individual countries. We exploit this heterogeneity in enforcement quality across countries in a difference-in-differences-in-differences model, while employing an overall inductive research approach, following Karpoff and Whittry’s (2018) recommendation. We find that acquirer returns increase in countries with improvements in takeover law, driven by better target selection and lower cost of financing. The increase in acquirer returns is lower in weak enforcement jurisdictions, which we identify by developing a novel Takeover Law Enforcement Index (TLEI). The findings show that takeover law can mitigate agency conflicts, but its true value depends on its enforcement. Our results are strongly robust to alternative model specifications.

Institutional investment horizons and firm valuation around the world

Wolfgang Drobetz, Simon Döring, Sadok El Ghoul, Omrane Guedhami, Henning Schröder
Journal of International Business Studies | 09/2020 | Forthcoming
Using a comprehensive dataset of firms from 34 countries, we study the effect of institutional investors’ investment horizons on firm valuation around the world. We find a positive relation between institutional ownership and firm value that is driven by short-horizon institutional investors. Accounting for the interaction between investors’ investment horizon and nationality, we show that foreign short-horizon institutions, which are more likely to discipline managers through the threat of exit rather than engaging in monitoring made costly by the liability of foreignness, are the investor group with the strongest effect on firm value. Reinforcing the threat of exit channel, we find that the value-enhancing effect of short-horizon investors is stronger in the presence of multiple short-horizon investors, who are more likely to engage in competitive trading. The positive valuation effect of short-horizon investors is stronger when stock liquidity is high, which makes the exit threat more credible, and in firms prone to free cash flow agency problems. Overall, our results are consistent with short-horizon institutional investors, especially foreign institutional owners, affecting firm value by disciplining managers through a credible threat of exit.

Antitakeover provisions and firm value: New evidence from the M&A market

Wolfgang Drobetz, Paul P. Momtaz
Journal of Corporate Finance | 06/2020
New evidence from acquisition decisions suggests that antitakeover provisions (ATPs) may increase firm value when internal corporate governance is sufficiently strong. We document that, in Germany, firms with stronger ATPs, and particularly supermajority provisions, are better acquirers. Managers of high-ATP firms create value in acquisitions by making governance-improving deals. They are more likely to engage in acquisitions that reduce their own entrenchment level and less likely to invest in declining industries. The empirical evidence is consistent with a short-termist interpretation. Takeover threats can induce myopic investment decisions, which ATPs can mitigate. They lead managers to engage more often in value-creating long-term and innovative investing, and increase a firm's sensitivity to investment opportunities. Our findings contribute to a growing literature challenging conventional wisdom that the agency-increasing effect of ATPs empirically dominates the myopia-eliminating effect, suggesting that a more contextual view of the value implications of ATPs is necessary.

Competition policy and the profitability of corporate acquisitions

Gishan Dissanaike, Wolfgang Drobetz, Paul P. Momtaz
Journal of Corporate Finance | 06/2020
Merger control exists to help safeguard effective competition. However, findings from a natural experiment suggest that regulatory merger control reduces the profitability of corporate acquisitions. Uncertainty about merger control decisions reduces takeover threats from foreign and very large acquirers, therefore facilitating agency-motivated deals. Valuation effects are more pronounced in countries with stronger law enforcement and in more concentrated industries. Our results suggest that competition policy may impede the efficiency of the M&A market.

The returns to hedge fund activism in Germany

Wolfgang Bessler, Wolfgang Drobetz, Julian Holler
European Financial Management | 01/2015
Recent regulatory changes in the German financial system shifted corporate control activities from universal banks to other capital market participants. Particularly hedge funds took advantage of the resulting control vacuum by acquiring stakes in weakly governed and less profitable firms. We document that, on average, hedge funds increased shareholder value in the short‐ and long‐run. However, more aggressive hedge funds generated only initially higher returns and their outperformance quickly reversed, whereas non‐aggressive hedge funds ultimately outperformed their aggressive peers. These findings suggest that aggressive hedge funds attempt to expropriate the target firm's shareholders by exiting at temporarily increased share prices.

An integrated framework of corporate governance and firm valuation

Stefan Beiner, Wolfgang Drobetz, Markus Schmid, Heinz Zimmermann
European Financial Management | 02/2006
Recent empirical research shows evidence of a positive relationship between the quality of firm‐specific corporate governance and firm valuation. Instead of looking at one single corporate governance mechanism in isolation, we construct a broad corporate governance index and apply five additional variables related to ownership structure, board characteristics, and leverage to provide a comprehensive description of firm‐level corporate governance for a representative sample of Swiss firms. To control for potential endogeneity of these six governance mechanisms, we develop a system of simultaneous equations and apply three‐stage least squares (3SLS). Our results support the widespread hypothesis of a positive relationship between corporate governance and firm valuation.

Long-run performance of initial public offerings: The evidence from Switzerland

Wolfgang Drobetz, Matthias Kammermann, Urs Wälchli
Schmalenbach Business Review | 07/2005
We examine the underpricing and long-term performance of a broad set of Swiss IPOs from 1983 to 2000. The average market adjusted initial return is 34.97%. Our results support the ex ante uncertainty hypothesis, the signalling hypothesis and, to some extent, the market cyclicality hypothesis as possible explanations for the underpricing phenomenon on the Swiss IPO market. We also find evidence for lower initial returns under increased competition among investment banks, and more accurate pricing when book-building is used. To accurately measure the long-term performance of Swiss IPOs, we use a variety of different methods and adjust for possible biases. In contrast to previous findings for the U.S., we do not find a significant drop or strong continuous underperformance of Swiss IPO stock prices in the aftermarket. If there was any evidence for underperformance at all, Swiss IPOs show poor returns only in the very long-run after 48 months of trading.