We explore the governance effect of short-selling threat on mergers and acquisitions (M&A). We use equity lending supply (LS) to proxy for the threat, as short sellers incentives to scrutinize a firm depend on the availability of borrowing shares. Our results show that acquirers with higher LS have higher announcement returns. The effect is stronger when acquirers are more likely to be targets of subsequent hostile takeovers and when their managers wealth is more linked to stock prices. We conduct four sets of tests to mitigate endogeneity concerns. Finally, the governance effect exists only for deals prone to agency problems.
We offer a new anchoring explanation for the ex-day abnormal returns of stock distributions, including stock dividend distributions, splits, and reverse splits. We propose that investors tend to anchor on cum-day prices in valuating ex-distribution stocks, resulting in a positive association between ex-day returns and adjustment factors. We find that this positive return-factor relation exists for all three types of stock distributions and in both the pre- and post-decimalization periods. Furthermore, we find that this positive return-factor relation is more pronounced among events that are more subject to investors’ anchoring propensity, featured by less investor attention, greater arbitrage difficulty, greater valuation uncertainty, less investor sophistication, and higher market sentiment. Last, using brokerage account data, we show that stocks that are traded by investors with more investment experience demonstrate a weaker return-factor relation.