Agency Cost Of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers
Michael C. Jensen
Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP), Inc.; Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
American Economic Review, Vol. 76, No. 2, May 1986
The interests and incentives of managers and shareholders conflict over such issues as the optimal size of the firm and the payment of cash to shareholders. These conflicts are especially severe in firms with large free cash flows--more cash than profitable investment opportunities. The theory developed here explains 1) the benefits of debt in reducing agency costs of free cash flows, 2) how debt can substitute for dividends, 3) why diversification programs are more likely to generate losses than takeovers or expansion in the same line of business or liquidation-motivated takeovers, 4) why the factors generating takeover activity in such diverse activities as broadcasting and tobacco are similar to those in oil, and 5) why bidders and some targets tend to perform abnormally well prior to takeover.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: Dividend policy, Corporate Payout Policy, Optimal Capital Structure, Optimal Debt, Reivestment Policy, Overinvestment
JEL Classification: D23, D24, D82, G31, G34, L21, L22Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 25, 1999
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