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Communicating Private Information to the Equity Market Before a Dividend Cut: An Empirical Analysis

  • Thomas J. Chemmanur (a1) and Xuan Tian (a2)

Abstract

This paper presents the first empirical analysis of the choice of firms regarding whether to release private information (“prepare the market”) in advance of a possible dividend cut and the consequences of such market preparation. We use a hand-collected data set of dividend cutting firms, which allows us to distinguish between prepared and nonprepared dividend cutters and to test the implications of two alternative theories: the “signaling through market preparation” theory and the “stock return volatility reduction” theory. We document several important differences between prepared and nonprepared dividend cutters. Overall, our empirical results are consistent with the signaling theory.

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