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Independent Directors and Shared Board Control in Venture Finance

Brian J. Broughman

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

April 6, 2012

Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1123840

In most VC-backed firms neither the entrepreneurs nor the VC investors control the board. Instead control is typically shared with a mutually appointed independent director holding the tie-breaking seat. Contract theory, which treats control as an indivisible right held by one party, does not have a good explanation for this practice. Using a bargaining game similar to final offer arbitration, I show that an independent director as tie-breaker can reduce holdup by moderating each party’s ex post threat position, potentially expanding the range of firms which receive external financing. This project contributes to the literature on incomplete contracting and holdup, and improves our understanding of governance arrangements in startup firms.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: Venture capital, control rights, incomplete contracting, corporate governance, board of directors

JEL Classification: G24, G32, G34. K12, K22, M13

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Date posted: May 8, 2008 ; Last revised: April 7, 2012

Suggested Citation

Broughman, Brian J., Independent Directors and Shared Board Control in Venture Finance (April 6, 2012). Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1123840. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1123840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1123840

Contact Information

Brian J. Broughman (Contact Author)
Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )
211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
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