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Applying Game Theory to Finance I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people - Isaac Newton, upon losing £20,000 in the.

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Presentation on theme: "Applying Game Theory to Finance I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people - Isaac Newton, upon losing £20,000 in the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Applying Game Theory to Finance I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people - Isaac Newton, upon losing £20,000 in the South Sea Bubble in 1720

2 David McAdams2 Game Plan Hostile Takeovers Bubbles

3 Hostile Takeovers Robert Campeau is considered by many as the best example of a fool. - Dale Oesterle, Cato Review of Business & Government, 1996 The biggest, looniest deal ever." - Fortune Magazine, July 1988, on Campeaus acquisition of Federated Stores.

4 David McAdams4 Hostile Takeover Plan Robert Campeau vs. Macys for Federated Conditional vs. unconditional offers Flat vs. tiered offers Qwest Bond Swap Coercive offers Staggered offers Poison Pills, Saturday Night Specials, etc.

5 David McAdams5 Macys vs. Campeau You are shareholders of Federated, whose share price is $100. Macys offers you $105 per share conditional on getting at least 50% Campeau offers an unconditional tiered offer …

6 David McAdams6 Macys vs. Campeau If less than 50% tender to him, then each gets $110 per share. If X% > 50% tender to him, then each gets a blended price of Campeau pays $80 extra per share beyond 50% If everyone tenders, Campeau pays $95 per share If Campeau wins and you have not tendered, then Campeau will be able to buy you out at $80

7 David McAdams7 Macys vs. Campeau Do you: Tender to Macys OR Tender to Campeau?

8 David McAdams8 Qwest Bond Swap Today a federal judge will decide whether Qwest can proceed with an exchange offer in which institutional investors (in a $1.5B issue) are being asked to exchange each $1,000 bond for a new one with face value $545. The offer is a coercive one that will leave bondholders who do not accept it in the back of line for repayment if Qwest goes broke… - A Bond Swap Available Only to Big Players, NY Times, December 18, 2002.

9 David McAdams9 Qwest Bond Swap If Judge Chin allows the offer to go ahead, institutional investors who own bonds will find themselves in a position with some resemblance to the classic prisoners dilemma... If no one tendered, then Qwest would be in the same position as before the offer, and any bondholder would be no worse off. But if a lot of holders tender, those who refuse will be worse off than they were. - A Bond Swap Available Only to Big Players, NY Times, December 18, 2002.

10 David McAdams10 Qwest Coercive Bond Swap How is / is not the game played among bondholders similar to the Prisoners Dilemma? Why exclude non-institutional investors from the offer?

11 David McAdams11 Qwest: Some Simple Cases Qwest owes $1.5B w/ $600M assets. Given success (everyone tenders) Qwest still goes bankrupt Is it a dominant strategy to tender? Qwest owes $1.5B w/ $1B assets Given success, Qwest avoids bankruptcy Is it a dominant strategy to tender?

12 David McAdams12 Qwest: Less Simple Cases Qwest owes $1.5B w/ assets that are worth either $600M or $1B. Given success, it avoids bankruptcy w/ Prob($1B)=45% Is tender a dominant strategy here? … for higher or lower Prob($1B)? Same as above but $300M worth of bondholders are excluded from the deal Tender becomes a dominant strategy for the $1.2B who remain

13 David McAdams13 Qwest Continued: When All Bonds arent Created Equal In reality, Qwest had many different bond issues it wanted to retire through these swaps, with different repayment priority. Qwest also didnt issue its swap offers for all of its issues at once but rather staggered the offers Does the order matter? Should Qwest swap high-priority bonds first or low-priority ones?

14 David McAdams14 Zwest Game Fictional firm Zwest has three bondholders A,B,C each owed $3M. There is some uncertainty about Zwests future assets: Zwest will have $5 million with 66.7% and $8 million with 33.3%. Absent any tendering, A gets repaid first followed by B, then C. Since assets are always less than $9 million, Zwest always goes bankrupt and has equity value of $0.

15 David McAdams15 Zwest Game Zwest will offer A,B,C each to exchange their $3M bond for a priority $2M bond. Those who tender will have higher priority than those who dont, but priority rankings are preserved between those that tender and those that dont. Example: if only B tenders, then B is paid $2M first then A is paid $3M then C is paid either $0M or $3M, depending on whether asset value is $5M or $8M.

16 David McAdams16 Zwest Game #1 (A first) Zwest makes A decide first whether or not to tender, then B, then C

17 David McAdams17 Zwest Game #2 (C first) Zwest makes C decide first whether or not to tender, then B, then A

18 David McAdams18 Play Zwest Games! Group into three pairs to play (you and a partner will play together) Roll a die to see who is A, B, C With your partner decide which game you would rather be playing (in your role), and write this down with your names and a brief explanation Your choice will not affect which game you ultimately play

19 David McAdams19 Play Zwest Games! Ill inform you which game your group will be playing Record the progress and the results on the sheet given to you

20 Commitment The Power to Constrain an Adversary Depends Upon the Power to Bind Oneself. - Thomas Schelling

21 David McAdams21 Commitment in the Examples Weve Seen Campeau committed to paying the high price $110 even if he failed to gain control This allowed him to avoid failure, since shareholders would all want to tender if he were going to fail Qwest committed not to renegotiate later with the non-tenderers

22 David McAdams22 Game within a Game So far, we have examined hostile takeovers as a voting game played among the targets stockholders But actually the shareholder vote is a game within a game Entrenched management, the raider, and other suitors strategize over influencing shareholders options and incentives in the forthcoming vote That in itself is a game …

23 David McAdams23 Bitter Pills Numerous ways for entrenched management to increase the cost of a takeover (Shark Repellant) Poison Pills Macaroni Defense … and for raiders to fight back Lady MacBeth Strategy Saturday Night Special

24 David McAdams24 Saturday Night Specials From the hostile bidders perspective, the most critical element – in contrast to substantive matters such as the price offered and the number of shares sought – is speed … If the hostile bidder can structure its offer so that target shareholders must decide to tender before a competitive bid can be arranged, a substantial advantage will be secured - Source, Gibson and Black (1995), The Law and Finance of Corporate Acquisitions

25 David McAdams25 Game within a Game within a Game (within a Game) Management needs shareholders to approve a Poison Pill. Thus, shareholders and management play a game long before raider arrives. Yet one layer deeper: Poison Pills remove managements incentive to take more drastic, self-destructive behavior If management can commit to adopt such a Scorched-Earth Policy, then shareholders will be more willing to grant a Poison Pill

26 David McAdams26 Role of Regulation Players may strategically commit to strategies that reduce overall gains from the game. Beneficial regulation shapes the options available to players so that the options they will likely choose lead to better outcomes. Saturday Night Specials were made illegal by the Williams Act of 1968, which stipulated that any tender offer must be kept open for at least 20 days.

27 Bubbles We thought it was the 8 th inning, and it was the 9 th - Stanley Druckenmiller, former manager of Soros Quantum Fund, April Julian said, This is irrational and I wont play, and they carried him out feet first. Druckenmiller said, This is irrational and Ill play, and they carried him out feet first. - NYTimes April 29, 2000: Another Technology Victim; Soros Fund Manager Says He Overplayed Hand. (Julian Roberts managed Tiger Hedge Fund, dissolved in 1999.)

28 David McAdams28 Bubbles: Game Plan 1. Newspapers, academics, and crystal balls… 2. Should you sell when you know you are in a bubble? 3. Bubble Game 4. Lessons learned: Bubble Game

29 David McAdams29 Newspapers, academics, and crystal balls … Spotting trends The January Effect

30 David McAdams30 Spotting trends __ is typically a strong month for stocks __ tends to be a good month for stocks __ has historically been a strong month __ is usually a great month for stocks __ is often a negative month for stocks. __ tends to be a bad month for stocks __ is traditionally a poor month for stocks __ is a scary month for stocks

31 Spotting Trends Mark Twain, in Puddnhead Wilson: October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in… The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.

32 David McAdams32 Spotting trends Sources: Motley Fool, CNN, USA Today, Dow Jones, Dean Inv. Ass. Good: Jan, June, July, Dec Bad: Mar, Aug, Sep, Oct If each month is equally likely to go up or down, there is an 80% chance that some month will be bad three years in a row! 80% of the time, a naïve analyst will identify (with 95% false confidence!) a day of the month on which the markets have historically performed better than average.

33 David McAdams33 January Effect Tendency of the stock market to rise between December 31 and the end of the first week in January. Well-documented by a spate of scholarly research in the 1980s

34 David McAdams34 Sampling of Research (USA data up to 80s) In equally-weighted portfolio, average return 3.5% in January, only.5% in others Excess returns not seen in DJIA, so effect limited to and more pronounced in small stocks Over half of excess return on small stocks in Jan. Excess returns greatest for small firms whose prices have declined previous year Excess returns in first five days not observed for winners of previous year

35 David McAdams35 Sampling of Research (non-USA data up to 80s) January returns exceptional in 15/16 countries studied. In Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, January return exceeds the return for the whole year! Taxes appear confirmed as part of story Britain has April effect, Australia has July effect. January itself seems significant Effect in Japan (where no capital gains) as well as Britain and Australia.

36 David McAdams36 What Should You Do? Careful research has shown that there was a January effect from Should you go buy small-caps this December?

37 David McAdams37 January Defect? Source: The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors, December 10, 2002 In the past few years, the January effect has been more of a January defect as investors, trying to get an edge on their competitors, have jumped earlier and earlier. In some cases the January effect takes place in November or even December.

38 David McAdams38 Most Recent Research The Declining January Effect: Evidences from the U.S. Equity Markets Source: Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance v43, n2 (Summer 2003):

39 David McAdams39 Bubbles What is a bubble? How do bubbles start? How do bubbles persist? How do bubbles burst?

40 David McAdams40 A Simple Model of Bubbles A structural change leads unsophisticated investors to conclude there is a new economy with permanently higher growth (and permanently rising prices!). South Sea bubble in 1700s Tech bubble in 1990s BUT sophisticated investors know that the growth spurt is temporary and will return to normal levels Still, no one knows how long high growth will last This model is based on Abreu and Brunnermeier, Bubbles and Crashes, Econometrica (2003)

41 David McAdams41 A Simple Model of Bubbles Sophisticated investors begin to realize that the growth spurt has ended after the fact and not all at the same time. As long as a majority of sophisticated investors stay invested, price continues to increase at a high rate. (This is an assumption.) For our purposes, bubble = majority of sophisticated investors know that growth has stopped, but still a majority stays invested. BUT once a majority of sophisticated investors have sold, the naïve realize their error and the bubble bursts.

42 David McAdams42 How Do Bubbles Start? You are an investor in the early 1700s. The masses believe that the South Seas Companys price is sure to rise at high rates permanently. To your surprise, you learn that South Seas trade is a dud! Should you sell immediately?!

43 David McAdams43 Bubble Game: Rules 5 players 10 periods. Decide Buy/Sell in each After period 10, Price will revert to Value Price process Price = Value = $1 at start Price doubles each period until 3 or more sophisticates have sold Player payoffs Once you Sell, you are done and get current price. If you still own when 3 others have sold, you get current Value

44 David McAdams44 Bubble Game: Rules Value process Value doubles each period during the growth period. I will flip a coin each period to determine whether growth has ended (beginning after round 1). Example: If growth stops after round 3, then value = price ($1, $2, $4) in periods 1,2,3 but value = $4 in all periods T > 3 whereas price keeps on doubling. When bubble bursts, price falls back to $4. Information process Once growth ends, one randomly chosen player will immediately learn that it has ended The next period, a second player will learn that it has ended, and so on Note: Upon learning, you dont know if you were the first to learn, the second, … or the last!

45 David McAdams45 Sell Immediately Upon Learning: Nash Equilibrium? Suppose that all others are following the strategy of selling immediately upon learning that growth has stopped (but not before) Should you sell immediately upon learning yourself?

46 David McAdams46 How Do Bubbles Persist and Burst? Play the Bubble Game to find out!! Form groups of four or five so that there are ten groups total Select one from among you to represent your group. Discuss among yourselves how to play – no discussion will be allowed once game begins Consult hand-out for more detailed info on game We will play two iterations of the Bubble Game, then discuss for lessons learned

47 David McAdams47 News and Overreaction We have seen that bubbles can exist even when there are numerous rational players BUT bubble can only persist when these players are relatively uncertain about when others are going to sell Even small news events can serve as coordinating devices that allow / force the rational investors all to escape the bubble The response is not an overreaction to the news but the bubble bursting Note: This does not explain why the stock market moves a lot with every news story.

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