THREE ESSAYS IN CORPORATE FINANCE AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
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This thesis conducts empirical studies related to financial institutions and corporate finance. Specifically, I look at banks’ lending behavior, performance of leveraged buyouts (LBOs), and the cultural impact on cross-border LBOs. Following an introduction in Chapter 1, in Chapter 2, I study U.S. commercial banks’ herding behavior in their domestic loan decisions, where herding is defined as the extent to which banks deviate from the industry average lending decisions and collectively increase or decrease loans to certain categories. I find significant evidence that herding exists and that banks tend to herd more when the economic condition is less favorable, regulation is tight, and when banks are struggling . Overall, these findings support the hypotheses of information asymmetry and regulatory arbitrage as motivations for herding. Chapter 3 provides a comprehensive study of LBO deal characteristics, participants’ involvement, and their impact on target firms’ performance. I find that better post-buyout operating performance is associated with larger amounts of leverage added during the LBO process, tighter LBO loan covenants, and equity contribution by target firms’ incumbent management. LBOs are more likely to exit through an IPO or a sale if they use more bank debt with tighter covenants and are sponsored by private equity (PE) firms of high reputation. These results suggest that the main source of value creation in LBOs is the reduced agency costs through the disciplining effect of debt, closer monitoring by lenders, and the better aligned management incentives. PE reputation is also important in ensuring successful deal outcomes. Chapter 4 (co-authored) examines the impact of cultural differences between PE firms and target firms on the completion of cross-border LBOs. We find that cultural distance between PE and target firms reduces the likelihood of buyout completion and increases the time between buyout announcement and completion. We also find that club deals moderate the negative (positive) impact of cultural distance on the likelihood (the duration) of LBO completion. This mitigation effect is through the increased familiarity channel of club formation. Our findings contribute to the literature that underscores the importance of culture in economic outcomes.