I always feel bad bringing you academic papers because inevitably they’ve been on SSRN for, like, two years, but this one is new to me anyway and good glaven are these charts clever:
So these guys (Kenneth Ahern and Denis Sosyura of Michigan) went and looked at a bunch of stock-for-stock mergers. And they looked at the uptick in news coverage after those mergers were announced – and, far more interestingly, before they were announced but after negotiations had started (which they found out by reading the “Background” in the merger proxy) . Then they divided those mergers into (1) fixed exchange ratio mergers, where the acquirer could minimize the price it paid by pumping up its stock just before signing the merger (because buying a $540mm company for AAPL shares requires 1mm shares now, but would require many more/fewer if AAPL were not so over/underpriced, take your pick), and (2) variable exchange ratio mergers (“we’ll give you $540mm worth of stock based on whatever our stock price at closing” or more complicated versions thereof), where the acquirer could minimize the price it paid by pumping up its stock just before closing the merger. Then they charted where there were more – largely positive, company-driven, press-release-based – articles than usual. And lookit that!
Or if you like, like, words and numbers: Read more »
One reason that you’re in for seven lean years in the investment banking business is that bank capital requirements are going up due to Basel III, and “capital is expensive” in some loose sense, so banks will have less money to use to make loans and/or pay you. Some people think that this is mostly bull, because capital is not actually any more “expensive” than any other form of funding, though those people often actually don’t care that much about paying you so it may not be worth listening to them. In any case here is the abstract to an amusing new paper by Karlo Kauko of the Finnish central bank, because yes I make a point of being up to date on everything published by the Finnish central bank:
Bank managers often claim that equity is expensive relative to debt, which contradicts the Modigliani-Miller irrelevance theorem. … An opaque bank must signal its solvency by paying high and stable dividends in order to keep depositors tranquil. This signalling may require costly liquidations if the return on assets has been poor, but not paying the dividend might cause panic and trigger a run on the bank. The more equity has been issued, the more liquidations are needed during bad times to pay the expected dividend to each share.
Don’t worry if you don’t get that name dropping, it doesn’t matter. Also don’t worry too much about the paper itself, which is amusing but also sort of nuts.* The basic idea to come away with is that bank equity is where the bank puts all its hopes and dreams, and that, if banks are more or less reflections of hopes and dreams, the people who provide the real funding for the banks – repo counterparties and clearing banks and suchlike – are going to be inordinately influenced by reading equity tea leaves. Because what else are they going to read? Read more »
We’ve talked a bit before about the Volcker Rule and how it’s going to have creepy unintended consequences because it is really hard to distinguish “market making,” which is what bank-broker-dealers are supposed to do, from “proprietary trading,” which is evil and destroyed the world. Today we have an excuse to talk about it again because (1) Uncle Vikram sort of shrugged off a question or two on it on this morning’s Citi earnings call, though he’s not quite in the Jamie Dimon camp of “I can’t hear you there will never be a Volcker Rule shut up shut up SHUT UP”; and more relevantly (2) Stanford finance professor Darrell Duffie just put out a study saying that the Volcker Rule is going to have creepy unintended consequences because it is really hard to distinguish “market making,” which is what bank-broker-dealers are supposed to do, from “proprietary trading.” Don’t be distracted from the rightness of this study (obvs!) by the fact that securities industry trade organization SIFMA paid Duffie to write it.* Instead, let’s focus on the important questions, like: where is my $50k check from SIFMA?
Much of this paper is a full-throated, conventional defense of Grossman-Miller market-making, which is nice and will bring a tear to your eye if you’re a market maker: Read more »