Yesterday, October 1st, during the academic programme of the 2-day EBF Conference, the Faculty and the EBF proudly presented the winners of the first FEB-EBF Thesis Awards. Joost-Jan van Halder (Economics) and Arjan Knol (Business) received a cheque of 1000euro’s and both held a presentation on their thesis.
The FEB – EBF Thesis Award is a result of cooperation between academic staff of the Faculty of Economics and Business and students of the EBF. From now on, the Thesis Award will take place on a yearly basis and granted to two graduates from the Faculty of Economics and Business. The thesis award concerns master’s theses which have been completed and approved in the previous academic year. Each winner receives a certificate and a cheque for €1000.
The winning Economics Thesis of Joost-Jan van Halder, is titled: “Shareholder wealth gains in European public-to-private Transactions. Evidence from the third LBO wave.” In this thesis Van Halder quantifies the wealth gains. On avergage the shareholders in European public-to-private transactions (period: 2003-2007) received a premium of 40% over the pre-rumor price and 10-20% over the pre-announcement price. As determinants of this gains, Van Halder found that higher wealth gains were realized for low leveraged firms and for firms which have experienced a significant share price decline prior to the public-to-private announcement. Furthermore, main drivers of wealth creation in these types of transaction, seemed to be financial engineering and financial arbitrage. No evidence is found in favor of other sources of wealth creation, such as the mitigation of agency costs and the reduction of transaction costs.
According to the jury Van Halder deserves the thesis prize for a extremely well written piece that covers an exciting topic with theoretical and practical relevance. His thesis uses existing theory convincingly to derive testable predictions that are later taken to the data. The techniques used are standard and no new methods are proposed; nevertheless, his thesis constitutes a development over previous work in that it includes the role of the private equity investor as a driver of shareholder wealth gains in public-to-private transactions.
The Business Thesis Award – Winner Arjan Knol wrote a thesis on communication quality in offshoring processes, from an Indian perspective. Arjan describes the problems and challenges associated with the decision to “go offshore”. More specifically he focuses on the communication problems between the two parties involved. Interestingly, he analyzes this process from the “other” Indian perspective.
The reasons why the jury picked this thesis are that the thesis is well written, very topical and original: Arjan looks at the offshoring process from the Indian point of view. But most of all, it is a clear example on how to do case research without losing the more abstract scientific agenda. Many students actually get lost in describing the real world at a very high level of detail, but Arjan is able to stick to his academic goal which is to shed light on the communication aspects of the offshoring process. The fact that Arjan is able to go beyond the simple conclusion that communication matters is a crucial contribution. In sum: it is a clear example of top level qualitative research.
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