The Announcement Effect of Open-Market Share Buybacks: The Case for European Firms

  •  Jyoti Gupta    
  •  Florian Wagner    


Using a comprehensive sample of 1830 open-market repurchases of 15 European countries encompassing the period from 1998 until 2013, we analyzed the magnitude and determinants of the share price reaction on announcement. Our results indicate that buyback announcements in Europe lead on average to a significantly positive abnormal return of 0.92% on announcement day, however, decreasing in firm size and announcement frequency. Additionally, our findings show that the market does not particularly greet the distribution of excess cash to shareholders, but rather when companies take advantage of undervalued stock as market-to-book values are inversely related to announcement returns. Looking at the companies’ leverage ratios, the motive of capital structure optimization cannot be supported by the empirical findings. Lastly, with respect to managerial market timing ability we could not observe that buybacks are following a period of share price underperformance, concluding that managers are not able to time the implementation of buyback programs.

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