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Equity Stakes and Hold-up Problems

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  • Rick Harbaugh

    (Claremont McKenna College)

Abstract

Equity ties between businesses change the division of the firms’ joint profits, thereby affecting incentives for relation-specific investments and other strategic actions. Depending on which side owns the equity and how readily the equity can be resold, we find that the changed incentives can resolve all four types of holdup-related problems: underinvestment, overinvestment, undercooperation, and sabotage. Equity stakes indirectly affect bargaining over the joint profits by making the bargaining positions of the firms dependent on each other. For instance, if one firm is made unprofitable by a breakdown in negotiations, the other firm loses as well. Since bargaining positions are linked, each firm benefits less from attempts to grab a larger share of the joint profits by strengthening its relative bargaining position, and benefits more from actions that increase joint profits. While both firms can gain from increased efficiency due to the equity stake, firms in many cases should only acquire an equity stake if they can bargain for a discounted price.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2001-31.

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Date of creation: Sep 2001
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Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2001-31

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Keywords: equity blocks; subsidiaries; gainsharing; partial ownership; business groups; ESOPs;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jain, Bharat A. & Kini, Omesh & Shenoy, Jaideep, 2011. "Vertical divestitures through equity carve-outs and spin-offs: A product markets perspective," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 594-615, June.
  2. Werner Güth & Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann, 2005. "Vertical Cross-Shareholding Theory and Experimental Evidence," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  3. Mathews, Richmond D., 2006. "Strategic alliances, equity stakes, and entry deterrence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 35-79, April.
  4. Harbaugh, Rick, 2005. "The effect of employee stock ownership on wage and employment bargaining," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 565-583, September.

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