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

  • Cestone, Giacinta

This Paper develops a theory of the joint allocation of control and cash-flow rights in venture capital deals. I argue that when the need for investor support calls for very high-powered outside claims, entrepreneurs should optimally retain control in order to avoid undue interference. Hence, I predict that risky claims should be negatively correlated to control rights, both along the life of a start-up and across deals. This challenges the idea that control should always be attached to more equity-like claims, and is in line with contractual terms used in venture capital, in corporate venturing and in partnerships between biotech start-ups and large corporations. The Paper also rationalizes the evidence, documented in Gompers (1999) and Kaplan and Stromberg (2000), that venture capital contracts include contingencies triggering both a reduction in VC control and the conversion of VC's preferred stock into common stock.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3462.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3462
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  1. Klaus Schmidt, 1999. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," CESifo Working Paper Series 217, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Kaplan, Steven & Strömberg, Per Johan, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets The Real World: An Empirical Analysis Of Venture Capital Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 2421, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and the Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-91, August.
  6. Giacinta Cestone & Lucy White, . "Anti-Competitive Financial Contracting: The Design Of Financial Claims," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 453.00, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. Masako Ueda, 2000. "Bank versus venture capital," Economics Working Papers 522, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Bruno Biais & Catherine Casamatta, 1999. "Optimal Leverage and Aggregate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1291-1323, 08.
  9. 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.
  10. Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Corporate Governance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 1-35, January.
  11. Cornelli, F. & Yosha, O., 1997. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Debt," Papers 23-97, Tel Aviv.
  12. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
  13. Gorman, Michael & Sahlman, William A., 1989. "What do venture capitalists do?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 231-248, July.
  14. 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.
  15. Roberta Dessí, 1999. "Financing Entrepreneurs: Optimal Contracts and the Role of Intermediaries," FMG Discussion Papers dp328, Financial Markets Group.
  16. 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.
  17. Cornelli, Francesca & Yosha, Oved, 1997. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 1735, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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