September 9, 2020

Short-Term Investors: Maybe They Aren’t So Bad After All?

In the corporate governance debate, there’s perhaps no more pejorative term than “short-termism.”  But this “Institutional Investor” article cites a recent study that says short-term investors may not be so bad after all:

Short-term investors are widely seen as bad for the companies they invest in, because they are likely to focus on immediate changes in stock value — potentially at the expense of the company’s long-term profitability. But new research suggests that there may be times when a short-term focus can actually help companies perform better over the long run. The study, expected to be published in the scholarly journal Management Science, found that companies with more short-horizon investors — who trade stocks regularly — adapted more quickly when their competitive environments changed “radically.”

“Under these circumstances, firms and economies with disproportionately more short-term investors may appear more dynamic and avoid stagnation, indicating that short-horizon investors perform an important function in the economy,” wrote authors Mariassunta Giannetti (Stockholm School of Economics) and Xiaoyun Yu (Indiana University).

To put this a little more bluntly than the authors do, the study suggests that those who believe that short-term investors light a fire under corporate management may well have a point.

Public Offerings: ATMs Thrive in Pandemic

“At-the-market” offerings provide companies with flexibility to access the capital markets quickly, and that can be a very attractive option during times of volatility. Bloomberg Law recently published an analysis of second quarter ATM offerings, and the results indicate that this particular alternative to a traditional public offering has been very popular during the Covid-19 pandemic:

At-the-market (ATM) offerings surged in the second quarter of 2020, driven by a need for cheap capital and encouraged by continued investor buying during the pandemic downturn. The value of ATM deals far outpaced any other quarter since Q2 2009. Already through Aug. 10, ATM offerings have raised nearly $33 billion on 251 deals valued at least $1 million, exceeding 2019’s entire haul by $5.5 billion on 15 fewer deals.

According to Bloomberg Law, 108 at-the-market deals raising $14.2 billion were completed during the second quarter alone. That outpaced the first quarter of 2020, which saw 80 deals come to market and raise $9.1 billion. But you don’t have the full picture about just how hot ATM deals are until you realize that the number of deals and the amount raised during the first quarter of 2020 outstripped those metrics for every previous quarter during the past decade – and that the current quarter is on pace to surpass the second quarter.

Shelf Registrations & Takedowns: A Quick Reference

If you’ve read my blogs for any amount of time, you already know I’m a sucker for quick reference materials that I can pull out of a real or virtual desk drawer, glance at for 5 minutes, and then successfully fake my way through a conference call on the topic. This Mayer Brown memo on shelf registration statements & takedowns is the latest addition to my desk drawer.

The memo is only 10 pages long, but it provides a readable & comprehensive overview of topics that include eligibility issues, the types of transactions for which a shelf registration statement may be used, the benefits of WKSI status and liability considerations. Check it out!

John Jenkins