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Corporate share repurchases in the UK: Perceptions and practices of corporate managers and investors

Dhanani, Alpa ORCID: 2016. Corporate share repurchases in the UK: Perceptions and practices of corporate managers and investors. Journal of Applied Accounting Research 17 (3) , pp. 331-355. 10.1108/JAAR-09-2014-0096

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine motivations underlying UK repurchase activity. Specifically, the paper inquires into the relevance of a range of different explanations for repurchases and perceptions of regulation surrounding them. Emphasis of the paper is, however, on motives linked specifically to repurchases rather than income distribution, more generally. Design/methodology/approach The study uses a survey approach to capture the views on repurchases of corporate managers and investors. It supplements the survey data with secondary information about the companies to better understand repurchase behaviour. Findings Results indicate that repurchase use is influenced by motives linked specifically to this tool rather than those associated with income distribution, more generally. In particular, repurchases are used to return surplus cash to investors, signal undervaluation and influence gearing and earnings per share levels. In the latter case, companies appear to use repurchases to perform a value added role, alongside manipulating the EPS level and thus the latter may simply be a by-product of the former. Private investors may nevertheless be vulnerable to such manipulation, given their limited financial literacy. Research limitations/implications The study relied on a survey of managers and investors and univariate analysis. In the former case, respondent numbers, particularly for the investor community were low, raising questions as to the generalisability of the data. In the latter, the results may be mis-stated owing to the simplicity of the analysis. Practical implications Overall, the survey results suggest that firms use repurchase programmes in different contexts to dividend payments and in appropriate circumstances. While managers and investors broadly share similar views, private shareholders may be in a vulnerable position given their limited financial literacy. Originality/value This is the first UK study on repurchases that examines the relative importance of a range of motives underlying repurchases. Moreover, it assesses in detail the core hypotheses that are linked specifically to repurchase programmes to better understand UK repurchase behaviour. It does so by supplementing the survey data with additional company information and comparing the views of the different audiences surveyed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Submitted
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0967-5426
Funders: -
Date of Acceptance: 28 September 2015
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 00:50

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