Cross listing

Cross listing
Cross listing of one company on multiple exchanges should not be confused with dual listed companies, where two distinct companies - with separate stocks listed on different exchanges - function as one company.

Cross listing of shares is when a firm lists its equity shares on one or more foreign stock exchange in addition to its domestic exchange. Examples include: American Depository Receipt (ADR), European Depositary Receipt (EDR), International Depositary Receipt (IDR) and Global Registered Shares (GRS).

Generally such a company's primary listing is on a stock exchange in its country of incorporation, and its secondary listing(s) is on an exchange in another country. Cross-listing is especially common for companies that started out in a small market but grew into a larger market. For example, numerous large Canadian companies are listed on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ as well as the Toronto Stock Exchange. The term can also be used to refer to the listing of a company on more than one stock exchange in the same country: as an example, there are a handful of companies in the United States that are listed on both the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. Some organizations, such as Liberty Media, have multiple listings reflecting different underlying assets, called tracking stocks.


Motivations for cross-listing

The academic literature has identified a number of different arguments to cross-list abroad in addition to a listing on the domestic exchange. Roosenboom and van Dijk (2009)[1] distinguish between the following motivations:

  • Market segmentation

The traditional argument for why firms seek a cross-listing is that they expect to benefit from a lower cost of capital that arises because their shares become more accessible to global investors whose access would otherwise be restricted because of international investment barriers.

  • Market liquidity

Cross-listings on deeper and more liquid equity markets could lead to an increase in the liquidity of the stock and a decrease in the cost of capital.

  • Information disclosure

Cross-listing on a foreign market can reduce the cost of capital through an improvement of the firm’s information environment. Firms can use a cross-listing on markets with stringent disclosure requirements to signal their quality to outside investors and to provide improved information to potential customers and suppliers (for example, by adopting US GAAP). Also, cross-listings tend to be associated with increased media attention, greater analyst coverage, better analysts’ forecast accuracy, and higher quality of accounting information.

  • Investor protection ("bonding")

Recently, there is a growing academic literature on the so-called “bonding” argument. According to this view, cross-listing in the US acts as a bonding mechanism used by firms that are incorporated in a jurisdiction with poor investor protection and enforcement systems to commit themselves voluntarily to higher standards of corporate governance. In this way, firms attract investors who would otherwise be reluctant to invest.

  • Other motivations

Cross-listing may also be driven by product and labor market considerations (for example, to increase visibility with customers by broadening product identification), to facilitate foreign acquisitions, and to improve labor relations in foreign countries by introducing share and option plans for foreign employees.[2]

Costs of cross-listing

There are, however, also disadvantages in deciding to cross-list: increased pressure on executives due to closer public scrutiny; increased reporting and disclosure requirements; additional scrutiny by analysts in advanced market economies, and additional listing fees. Some financial media have argued that the implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley act in the US has made the NYSE less attractive for cross-listings, but recent academic research finds little evidence to support this, see Doidge, Karolyi, and Stulz (2007).[3]

What do managers say?

A questionnaire asking managers of international companies has shown that firms cross-list in the US mainly because of specific US business reasons (for instance US acquisitions, US business expansion and publicity), liquidity and status of US capital markets, and industry specific reasons (listing of competitors, benefits of financial analysts). Meeting SEC disclosure requirements and preparing US-GAAP reconciliations were cited as the most important disadvantages. Officials of ADR companies without an official listing (Level I and Rule 144A ADR’s) perceived the expansion of the US shareholder base as the principal benefit followed by specific US business reasons. On the question of what deters them from an official US listing, they mentioned the time-consuming and expensive US-GAAP reconciliations as well as listing fees as the hardest impediments. Additional disclosure requirements were cited as less difficult to overcome.

Do cross-listings create value?

There is a vast academic literature on the impact of cross-listings on the value of the cross-listed firms. Most studies (for example, Miller, 1999[4]) find that a cross-listing on a US stock market by a non-US firm is associated with a significantly positive stock price reaction in the home market. This finding suggests that the stock market expects the cross-listing to have a positive impact on firm value. Doidge, Karolyi, and Stulz (2004)[5] show that companies with a cross-listing in the U.S. have a higher valuation than non-cross-listed corporations, especially for firms with high growth opportunities domiciled in countries with relatively weak investor protection. The premium they find is larger for companies listed at official US stock exchanges (Level II and III ADR programs) than for over-the-counter listings (Level I ADR program) and private placements (Rule 144A ADR’s). Doidge, Karolyi, and Stulz (2004) argue that a cross-listing in the US reduces the extent to which controlling shareholders can engage in expropriation (through "bonding" to the high corporate governance standards in the US) and thereby increases the firm’s ability to take advantage of growth opportunities. Recent research, see[1], shows that the listing premium for crosslisting has evaporated, due to new US regulations and competition from other exchanges. Some recent academic research finds that smaller foreign firms seeking cross listing venues may be opting for UK exchanges over US exchanges due to the costs imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. On the other hand, larger firms seeking "bonding" benefits from a US listing continue to seek a US exchange listing.[6] The academic literature largely ignores cross-listings on non-US exchanges. However, there are many cross-listings on exchanges in Europe and Asia. Even US firms are cross-listed in other countries. In the 1980s there was a wave of cross-listings of US firms in Japan. Roosenboom and van Dijk (2009)[7] analyze 526 cross-listings from 44 different countries on 8 major stock exchanges and document significant stock price reactions of 1.3% on average for cross-listings on US exchanges, 1.1% on London Stock Exchange, 0.6% on exchanges in continental Europe, and 0.5% on Tokyo Stock Exchange. These findings suggest that cross-listings on Anglo-Saxon exchanges create more value than on other exchanges. They also highlight the incomplete understanding of why firms cross-list outside the UK and the US, as many of the arguments discussed above (enhanced liquidity, improved disclosure, and bonding) do not apply.


  1. ^ Roosenboom, Peter, and Mathijs A. van Dijk, 2009, The Market Reaction to Cross-Listings: Does the Destination Market Matter? Journal of Banking and Finance, 33, 1898-1908, Available at SSRN:
  2. ^ Khanna, Tarun, Palepu, Krishna and Srinivasan, Suraj, Disclosure Practices of Foreign Companies Interacting with U.S. Markets(December 2003). Available at SSRN:
  3. ^ Doidge, Craig Andrew, Karolyi, George Andrew and Stulz, Rene M.,Has New York Become Less Competitive in Global Markets? Evaluating Foreign Listing Choices over Time(July 2007). ECGI - Finance Working Paper No. 173/2007 Available at SSRN:
  4. ^ Miller, Darius, 1999, The market reaction to international cross-listings: Evidence from depositary receipts. Journal of Financial Economics 51, 103-123.
  5. ^ Doidge, Craig, Karolyi, G. Andrew, Stulz, Rene M., 2004, Why are foreign firms listed in the U.S. worth more? Journal of Financial Economics 71, 205-238.
  6. ^ Piotroski, Joseph D. and Srinivasan, Suraj, Regulation and Bonding: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Flow of International Listings(January 2008). Available at SSRN:
  7. ^ Roosenboom, Peter, and Mathijs A. van Dijk, 2009, The Market Reaction to Cross-Listings: Does the Destination Market Matter? Journal of Banking and Finance, 33, 1898-1908, Available at SSRN:
  • Piotroski, Joseph D. and Srinivasan, Suraj,Regulation and Bonding: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Flow of International Listings(January 2008). Available at SSRN:
  • Khanna, Tarun, Palepu, Krishna and Srinivasan, Suraj,Disclosure Practices of Foreign Companies Interacting with U.S. Markets(December 2003). Harvard Business School Strategy Unit Working Paper No. 03-081 Available at SSRN: or DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.408621

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