A dedicated investor relations (IR) function facilitates direct and ongoing dialogue between management and shareholders. This paper examines whether this form of engagement mitigates activism that relies upon support from other shareholders. We find that IR engagement is associated with increased investor confidence in management and the board, as well as a lower likelihood of activism, with this deterrent effect becoming stronger when there are fewer frictions surrounding the development of mutual understanding and trust with investors. We also find that when firms do experience an activist campaign, firms with IR engagement have less costly and contentious campaigns, including a lower likelihood of CEO turnover, than those without such a commitment. Taken together, our findings suggest that direct and ongoing IR engagement is an important factor in achieving mutual understanding and trust between the firm and its shareholders, which deters activist investors and mitigates the costly escalation of initiated campaigns.
ABSTRACT This paper examines whether investor relations (IR) officers provide value by facilitating the assimilation of firm information by the market. We find that firms with IR officers have lower stock price volatility, lower analyst forecast dispersion, higher analyst forecast accuracy, and quicker price discovery, consistent with IR officers aiding market participants in their assimilation of firm information. We also show that our findings are stronger for firms with longer-tenured IR officers. Finally, we find that when firms transition from a long-tenured IR officer to a new IR officer, stock price volatility increases, analyst forecasts become more disperse and less accurate, and the price discovery process slows, despite no significant change in the firm's disclosures, media coverage, or performance around the turnover. Collectively, these findings suggest that in-house IR officers, particularly those with greater experience, help facilitate information assimilation by the market, which has positive market effects. JEL Classifications: G14; M40; M41.
ABSTRACT Corporate investment decisions require managers to forecast expected future cash flows from potential investments. Although these forecasts are a critical component of successful investing, they are not directly observable by external stakeholders. In this study, we investigate whether the quality of managers' externally reported earnings forecasts can be used to infer the quality of their corporate investment decisions. Relying on the intuition that managers draw on similar skills when generating external earnings forecasts and internal payoff forecasts for their investment decisions, we predict that managers with higher quality external earnings forecasts make better investment decisions. Consistent with our prediction, we find that forecasting quality is positively associated with the quality of both acquisition and capital expenditure decisions. Our evidence suggests that externally observed forecasting quality can be used to infer the quality of capital budgeting decisions within firms. JEL Classifications: D83, G31, M41 Data Availability: Data are available from public sources identified in the paper.
ABSTRACT Firm disclosures often reach only a portion of investors, which results in information asymmetry among investors and, therefore, lower market liquidity. This issue is particularly salient for firms that are not highly visible, as they tend not to receive broad news dissemination via traditional intermediaries, such as the press. This paper examines whether firms can reduce information asymmetry by more broadly disseminating their news. To isolate the impact of dissemination, we focus our analysis on firms' use of Twitter and exploit the 140-character message restriction. Specifically, using a sample of technology firms, we examine the impact of using Twitter to send market participants links to press releases that are provided via traditional disclosure methods. We find this additional dissemination of firm-initiated news via Twitter is associated with lower abnormal bid-ask spreads and greater abnormal depths, consistent with a reduction in information asymmetry. Moreover, this result holds mainly for firms that are not highly visible, consistent with them being in greater need of this additional dissemination channel. We also examine the impact of dissemination on a volume-based measure of liquidity, and find that dissemination is positively associated with liquidity. Data Availability: All data are publicly available from the sources indicated in the paper.