A Cross-Country Comparison of Full and Partial Venture Capital Exits
Posted: 17 Nov 2004
This paper considers the issue of when venture capitalists (VCs) make a partial, as opposed to a full exit, for the full range of exit vehicles. A full exit for an IPO involves a sale of all of the venture capitalist's holdings within one year of the IPO; a partial exit involves sale of only part of the venture capitalist's holdings within that period. A full acquisition exit involves the sale of the entire firm for cash; in a partial acquisition exit, the venture capitalist receives (often illiquid) shares in the acquiror firm instead of cash. In the case of a buyback exit (in which the entrepreneur buys out the venture capitalist) or a secondary sale, a partial exit entails a sale of only part of the venture capitalist's holdings. A partial write-off involves a write down of the investment. We consider the determinants of full and partial venture capital exits for all five exit vehicles. We also perform a number of comparative empirical tests on samples of full and partial exits derived from a survey of Canadian and U.S. venture capital firms. The data offer support to the central hypothesis of the paper: that the greater the degree of information asymmetry between the selling VC and the buyer, the greater the likelihood of a partial exit to signal quality. The data also indicate differences between the U.S. and Canadian venture capital industries, and highlight the impact of legal and institutional factors on exit strategies across countries.
JEL Classification: G24, G28, G32, G38, K22
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