An Analysis of Lockups in REIT IPOs

Hsuan-Chi Chen, Robert (Chi-Wing) Fok and Chiuling Lu

Online First™, 21 December 2009

Abstract

We analyze how the unique characteristics of real estate investment trusts (REITs) affect IPO lockup agreements from 1980 to 2006. The findings show that, unlike industrial IPOs, lockup periods for REIT IPOs do not cluster at 180 days, tend to cover longer periods, and vary over time. Our results support the commitment device hypothesis instead of the signaling hypothesis. That is, REIT managers tend to use lockup agreements to alleviate moral hazard problems and protect post-IPO investors rather than to send signals to investors. Finally, contrary to previous studies, we find no significant negative abnormal returns around the unlock date for the whole sample. The lack of aggressive sales by insiders and the fact that REITs are not backed by venture capitalists can explain our finding.Keywords  Real estate investment trust – Lockup – Initial public offering – Signaling hypothesis – Commitment device – Moral hazard

JEL Classification  G11 – G21

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