This study examines how share repurchase and dividend policies are influenced by controlling shareholders in an emerging market. We maintain that the controlling shareholders can utilize share repurchase opportunistically, particularly when they exercise voting rights in excess of cash-flow rights. The evidence of Korean firms suggests that the wedge between the voting rights and cash-flow rights positively affects share repurchases but negatively affects cash dividends. We also find that share repurchases are not always supported by operating performances. The results indicate that firms may utilize share repurchases as a means to pursue private benefits of the controlling shareholders. We also document that share repurchases do not substitute for cash dividends, suggesting that share repurchases are not genuine distributions. Furthermore, we find that the wedge of share repurchases reduces firm value. Overall, our results indicate that the controlling shareholders of Korean firms use share repurchases opportunistically rather than strategically.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 12, 2012
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