Repurchasing Shares on a Second Trading Line

D. Chung, D. Isakov, C. PERIGNON

Review of Finance

June 2007, n°11, pp.253-285

Departments: Finance, GREGHEC (CNRS)

pas sous affiliation hecThis paper studies a unique buyback method allowing firms to reacquire their own shares on a separate trading line where only the firm is allowed to buy shares. This temporary trading platform is opened concurrently with the original trading line on the stock exchange. This share repurchase method is called the Second Trading Line and has been extensively used by Swiss companies since 1997. This type of repurchase is unique for two reasons. First, unlike open market programs, the repurchasing company does not trade under the cover of anonymity. Second, all transactions made by the repurchasing firm are publicly available in real time to every market participant. This is a case of instantaneous disclosure which contrasts sharply with other markets characterized by delayed or no disclosure. Using actual repurchase data from all buybacks implemented through second trading lines, we find that managers exhibit timing ability for the majority of programs. We also document that the daily repurchase decision is statistically associated with short-term price changes. However, we reject the opportunistic repurchase hypothesis and find no evidence that managers exploit their information advantage when reacquiring shares. We also find that repurchases on the second trading line have a beneficial impact on the liquidity of repurchasing firms (i.e., higher trading volumes, smaller bid-ask spreads, and thicker total depths). Exchanges and regulators may consider the second trading line an attractive share reacquisition mechanism because of its transparency and positive liquidity effects. Keywords: Share Repurchases, Disclosure Environment, Information Asymmetry, Liquidity