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Hole in the Wall: Informed Short Selling Ahead of Private Placements

Henk Berkman, Michael D. McKenzie and Patrick Verwijmeren

Review of Finance, 2017, vol. 21, issue 3, 1047-1091

Abstract: Companies planning a private placement typically gauge the interest of potential buyers before the offering is publicly announced. Regulators are concerned with this practice, called wall-crossing, as it might invite insider trading, especially when the potential investors are hedge funds. We examine privately placed common stock and convertible offerings and find evidence of widespread pre-announcement short selling. We show that pre-announcement short sellers are able to predict announcement day returns. The effects are especially strong when hedge funds are involved and when the number of buyers is high. We also observe pre-announcement trading in the options market.

Keywords: Insider trading; Hedge funds; Private placements; Wall-crossing; Short selling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G14 G32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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