Firm Value and Stock Value An Example

The following example illustrates that the capital structure that maximizes the value of the firm is the one that financial managers should choose for the shareholders, so there is no conflict in our goals. To begin, suppose the market value of the J. J. Sprint Company is $1,000. The company currently has no debt, and J. J. Sprint's 100 shares sell for $10 each. Further suppose that J. J. Sprint restructures itself by borrowing $500 and then paying out the proceeds to shareholders as an extra dividend of $500/100 = $5 per share.

This restructuring will change the capital structure of the firm with no direct effect on the firm's assets. The immediate effect will be to increase debt and decrease equity. However, what will be the final impact of the restructuring? Table 17.1 illustrates three possible outcomes in addition to the original no-debt case. Notice that in Scenario II, the value of the firm is unchanged at $1,000. In Scenario I, firm value rises to $1,250; it falls by $250, to $750, in Scenario III. We haven't yet said what might lead to these changes. For now, we just take them as possible outcomes to illustrate a point.

Because our goal is to benefit the shareholders, we next examine, in Table 17.2, the net payoffs to the shareholders in these scenarios. We see that, if the value of the firm

Ross et al.: Fundamentals of Corporate Finance, Sixth Edition, Alternate Edition

VI. Cost of Capital and Long-Term Financial Policy

17. Financial Leverage and Capital Structure Policy

© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2002

CHAPTER 17 Financial Leverage and Capital Structure Policy

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