Historical Share Prices of Delisted Companies

Siblis Research provides historical share prices of delisted US companies that have been part of S&P 500 or Russell 2000 indexes in the past. The historical prices delisted shares are part of index specific Researcher Datasets. The researcher datasets includes key historical data of the individual index companies, including outstanding shares, quarterly earnings, market caps and total returns.

Finding delisted stock data from Yahoo Finance

If a company’s share is delisted from NYSE or NASDAQ, the stock might still continue trading on OTC markets under a new ticker. If the trading still continues over-the-counter, the historical prices are still available in Yahoo Finance. The new ticker usually has Q at the end as a sign of bankruptcy proceedings. If you know this new symbol, you can view the stock price history of the company when its share was still traded on a major exchange. The table above shows the OTC or Q-ticker when available. But please be aware that only some of these can still be found from Yahoo.

Reasons for delisting

Delisting means that a company’s share will no longer be traded on a public stock exchange like NYSE or NASDAQ. There are many reasons why a company might delist from a stock exchange. The most common reason is mergers and acquisitions. When looking at previous S&P 500 companies that have been delisted, a large majority is due to M&A actions.

A company can also be delisted when it is taken private by its owners or private-equity firms. Recent examples among old S&P 500 components include PetSmart that was taken private by BC Partners in December 2014 and Safeway that was acquired by Cerberus Capital Management. Private equity funds buy companies they believe are undervalued or the funds think that making changes with the management of their target company will reveal some unleashed market potential.

Corporations can also be forced to delist when they are not fulfilling the requirements of a stock exchange anymore. This happens most often with companies that are on the verge on bankruptcy. When a company files for bankruptcy protection, it can be relisted on over-the-counter trading floors, the Pink Sheets or the OTCBB. There is no law that would prohibit the trading of stocks of companies in bankruptcy. Companies quoted on these markets do not need to meet the minimum requirements of main stock exchanges and they don’t need to do SEC filings. However, these companies usually become penny stocks and buying them is extremely risky.

Being a public company has both positive and negative sides. Public trading increases liquidity and make possible for the owners of the company to capitalize their ownership. But being publicly listed means a lot of regulation and mandatory filings and reporting. It is also argued that being private would help management to concentrate on long-term objectives instead of short-term goals but this view has been often challenged.

Symbol Q at the end of stock ticker

When a company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the letter Q is added to the end of the company’s stock ticker symbol. If the company emerges from the bankruptcy, it’s old stock is usually cancelled and will be worthless. Chapter 7 filing means that the company’s stock is liquidated and Q will not be assigned to the ticker symbol. The shares will be paid if any funds are left after paying creditors.

It is also common practice that a company keeps its old share on the secondary market and issues a new stock for the reorganized corporation. The new stock won’t have Q part of it. The Q is never removed from the pre-bankruptcy stock so the separation of share pre- and post- shares will always be clear.

Delisted companies and survivorship bias

Avoiding survivor bias is especially relevant when doing backtesting with stock indexes. If you only evaluate the historical performance of current index components, this will lead to bias results. For unbiased results, you also need data for past index constituents, many of which have been delisted. Most common reason why companies are dropped from S&P 500 is mergers and acquisitions so having data for acquired companies is necessary for accurate backtesting.

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