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Equity Stakes and Hold-up Problems

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rick Harbaugh, 2001. "Equity Stakes and Hold-up Problems," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2001-31, Claremont Colleges.
  • Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2001-31
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    File URL: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/rdschool/papers/2001-31.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Guth, Werner & Nikiforakis, Nikos & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2007. "Vertical cross-shareholding: Theory and experimental evidence," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 69-89, February.
    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory

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