CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO CORPORATE FINANCE
Answers to Concept Questions 1. In the corporate form of ownership, the shareholders are the owners of the firm. The shareholders elect the directors of the corporation, who in turn appoint the firm’s management. This separation of ownership from control in the corporate form of organization is what causes agency problems to exist. Management may act in its own or someone else’s best interests, rather than those of the shareholders. If such events occur, they may contradict the goal of maximizing the share price of the equity of the firm. Such organizations frequently pursue social or political missions, so many different goals are conceivable. One goal that is often cited is revenue minimization; i.e., provide whatever goods and services are offered at the lowest possible cost to society. A better approach might be to observe that even a not-for-profit business has equity. Thus, one answer is that the appropriate goal is to maximize the value of the equity. Presumably, the current stock value reflects the risk, timing, and magnitude of all future cash flows, both short-term and long-term. If this is correct, then the statement is false. An argument can be made either way. At the one extreme, we could argue that in a market economy, all of these things are priced. There is thus an optimal level of, for example, ethical and/or illegal behavior, and the framework of stock valuation explicitly includes these. At the other extreme, we could argue that these are non-economic phenomena and are best handled through the political process. A classic (and highly relevant) thought question that illustrates this debate goes something like this: “A firm has estimated that the cost of improving the safety of one of its products is $30 million. However, the firm believes that improving the safety of the product will only save $20... [continues]
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