This article examines at-the-market (ATM) equity programs as an additional source of financial flexibility. We find that firms with higher market-to-book ratios and greater institutional ownership are more likely to announce an ATM program. Firms using ATM programs are also more likely to issue shares when they have exhausted other viable financing alternatives, have timely investment opportunities and when market conditions are favorable. Finally, we document a significant negative announcement effect around the establishment of an ATM program, though the magnitude of this effect is significantly less negative than that of a comparable SEO.
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