Article first published online: 30th April 2012 DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1992.tb03981.x
The conventional view of going‐private transactions is that they are designed to enhance the efficiency of the firm (for example, Jensen (1986)). A starkly different view is that these and other control transactions are motivated to effect transfers from other stakeholders in the firm to equity holders (Shleifer and Summers (1988)). This study exploits data describing pension terminations as a way to test these theories. We conclude that the efficiency theory can plausibly explain a substantial number of LBO‐related terminations, but not enough to undermine the transfer theory. More specific predictions from the efflciency theory are needed to structure more exacting tests.