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Unformatted text preview: 1-1The primary goal is assumed to be shareholder wealth maximization, which translates to stock price maximization. That, in turn, means maximizing the PV of future free cash flows.Maximizing shareholder wealth requires that the firm produce things that customers want, and at the lowest cost consistent with high quality. It also means holding risk down, which will result in a relatively low cost of capital, which is necessary to maximize the PV of a given cash flow stream.This also get into the issue of capital structure—how much debt should we use? The more debt the firm uses, the lower its taxes, and the fewer shares outstanding, hence less dilution of earnings. However, more debt means more risk. So, it’s necessary to consider capital structure when attempting to maximize share prices.Dividend policy is also an issue—how how much of its earnings should the firm pay out as dividends? The answer to that question depends on a number of factors, including the firm’s investment opportunities, its access to capital markets, its stockholders’ desires (and their tax rates), and the kind of signals stockholders get from dividend actions.Shareholder wealth maximization is partially consistent and partially inconsistent with generally accepted societal goals. It is consistent because well-run firms produce good products at low costs, sell them at competitive prices, employ people, pay taxes, and generally improve society. However, without constraints, firms would tend to form monopolies and end up charging prices that are too high and not producing enough output. They might also pollute the air and water, engage in unfair labor practices, and so on. So, constraints (antitrust, labor, environmental, etc. laws) should be and are imposed on businesses. That said, stock price maximization is consistent with a strong economy, economic progress, and “the good life” for most citizens.In standard introductory microeconomics courses, we assume that firms attempt to maximize profits. In more advanced econ courses, the goal is broadened to value maximizing, so finance and economics are indeed consistent.As WorldCom, Enron, and other corporate scandals demonstrated very clearly, managers do not always have stockholders’ interests as a primary goal—some managers have their own interests. This point is discussed further below.1-2An agency relationshipexists when one party (the principal) delegates authority to some other party (the agent). Stockholders delegate authority to managers, and debtholders delegate authority to stockholders (who act through managers). Any conflict between Answers and Solutions:1 - 1Chapter 1An Overview of Financial ManagementANSWERS TO BEGINNING-OF-CHAPTER QUESTIONSprincipals and agents is called an agency problem, or agency conflict....
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This note was uploaded on 08/29/2009 for the course FM Finance taught by Professor Unknown during the Spring '09 term at DeVry Addison.
- Spring '09