This paper investigates the effect of mandatory disclosure requirements for private firms on their decision to go public. Using detailed project-level data for biopharmaceutical firms, we explore the effects of a legal reform that exogenously required firms to publicly disclose information regarding clinical trials. Exploiting cross-sectional heterogeneity in firms' exposure to the regulation based on their internal development portfolios, we find that affected firms are significantly more likely to transition to public equity markets following the reform. Moreover, firms that go public because of the increased disclosure requirements subsequently reduce the size of their project portfolios while shifting to safer investments acquired externally. We provide additional evidence for the main hypothesis using a second setting: a 2006 German reform which enhanced the enforcement of mandatory disclosure requirements for private firms. The results suggest that private firms' general information environment and disclosure requirements influence the propensity of going public.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Chookaszian Accounting Research Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
- initial public offerings
- mandatory disclosure
- private firms
- proprietary cost