a1 [email protected], Carroll School of Management, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
a2 [email protected], Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, 1309 E 10th St, Bloomington, IN 47405
This paper presents the first theoretical analysis of the choice of firms between “preparing” and not preparing the equity market in advance of a possible dividend cut. In our model, insiders have private information about their firm’s intermediate cash flow as well as about the net present value of its growth opportunity. We show that, in equilibrium, firms in temporary financial difficulties but with good long-term growth prospects are more likely to prepare the market in advance of dividend cuts, while those with permanently declining earnings are less likely to prepare the market. Our model generates several new testable predictions.