This study investigates whether foreign institutional investors can enhance shareholder value in emerging markets. We pay special attention to two dimensions of investor heterogeneity: whether investors declare themselves to be activists, and whether activists come from countries with strong traditions of investor activism (identified by the incidence of hostile takeovers in their respective home countries). First, using an event study approach with regard to announcements of block purchases by foreign institutional investors in Korea, we find that stock prices increase only when foreign institutional investors declare themselves to be activists (increasing on average by 3% over a 20-day window). Second, we find that positive stock price reactions are more pronounced when the activist investors come from source countries with strong traditions of investor activism (increasing on average by 7% over a 20-day window). Third, we find that target firms are more likely to reduce cash holdings, raise leverage ratios, and peg dividend payouts, stock repurchases, and CEO turnover more closely to changes in earnings, but only if foreign activists come from countries with strong traditions of activism. We address possible selection bias by propensity score matching.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics