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Venture Capital Meets Contract Theory: Risky Claims or Formal Control?

  • Giacinta CESTONE


This paper develops a theory of the joint allocation of formal control and cash-flow rights in venture capital deals. We argue that when the need for investor support calls for very high-powered outside claims, entrepreneurs should optimally retain formal control in order to avoid excessive interference. Hence, we predict that risky claims should be be negatively correlated to control rights, both along the life of a start-up and across deals. This challenges the idea that risky claims should a ways be associated to more formal control, and is in line with contractual terms increasingly used in venture capital, in corporate venturing and in partnership deals between biotech start-ups and large drug companies. The paper provides a theoretical explanation to some puzzling evidence documented in Gompers (1997) and Kaplan and Stromberg (2000), namely the inclusion in venture capital contracts of contingencies that trigger both a reduction in VC control and the conversion! of her preferred stocks into common stocks.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 480.01.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 26 Feb 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:480.01
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  1. Catherine Casamatta, 2003. "Financing and Advising: Optimal Financial Contracts with Venture Capitalists," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 2059-2086, October.
  2. Cornelli, Francesca & Yosha, Oved, 1997. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 1735, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Gorman, Michael & Sahlman, William A., 1989. "What do venture capitalists do?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 231-248, July.
  4. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2317, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Giacinta Cestone & Lucy White, 2003. "Anticompetitive Financial Contracting: The Design of Financial Claims," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 2109-2142, October.
  6. Dewatripont, Mathias & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "A Theory of Debt and Equity: Diversity of Securities and Manager-Shareholder Congruence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1027-54, November.
  7. Bruno Biais & Catherine Casamatta, 1999. "Optimal Leverage and Aggregate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1291-1323, 08.
  8. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Strömberg, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," CRSP working papers 513, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  9. Burkart, Mike & Gromb, Denis & Panunzi, Fausto, 1997. "Large Shareholders, Monitoring, and the Value of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 693-728, August.
  10. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 473-94, July.
  11. Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Corporate Governance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 1-35, January.
  12. Roberta Dessí, 1999. "Financing Entrepreneurs: Optimal Contracts and the Role of Intermediaries," FMG Discussion Papers dp328, Financial Markets Group.
  13. Holmström, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," IDEI Working Papers 40, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  14. Hellmann, Thomas F. & Puri, Manju, 2000. "Venture Capital and the Professionalization of Start-up Firms: Empirical Evidence," Research Papers 1661, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  15. Masako Ueda, 2000. "Bank versus venture capital," Economics Working Papers 522, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  16. Cornelli, F. & Yosha, O., 1997. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Debt," Papers 23-97, Tel Aviv.
  17. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
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