Bertoni & Lugo: The Effect of Sovereign Wealth Funds on the Credit Risk of Their Portfolio Companies

Abstract:

We study how sovereign wealth fund (SWF) investments affect the credit risk of target companies as measured by the change in their credit default swap (CDS) spreads around the investment announcement. Our analysis is based on a sample of 391 SWF investments in 198 companies between 2003 and 2010. Our results indicate that the CDS spread of target companies decreases, on average, following an SWF investment. The reduction in the CDS spread is higher when the SWF is established by a politically stable non-democratic country that has a neutral political relationship with the host country of the target company. The results are robust to different definitions of the dependent variable in terms of event window, CDS maturity and calculation of the benchmark CDS spread. Our results suggest that creditors expect SWFs to protect target companies from bankruptcy when it is in the interest of their home country to build political goodwill in the host country of the company.
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