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A resource based interpretation of performance enhancing capital structure changes: The O.M. Scott LBO revisited

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  • Peter Wirtz

    () (Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II))

Abstract

The O.M. Scott case study published in 1989 in the Journal of Financial Economics has come to be a classic in illustrating the plausibility of some fundamental concepts that underpin mainstream models of the efficiency attributes of capital structure in modern corporate finance. In these models, high leverage traditionally appears as a strong incentive to refrain from sub-optimal investment behavior by self-interested managers. Thus reducing managerial agency cost has been considered as an essential driver of enhanced value in much of financial modeling ever since the publication of the famous free cash flow proposition. In the present paper, we attempt a somewhat different, albeit complementary, mainly resource based interpretation of the very rich empirical material contained in Baker and Wruck (1989). In fact, a close reading of the case suggests that the observed significant increase in operating performance post-LBO was to a great extent the consequence of the yet unexplored cognitive changes implied by switching dominant shareholders. Namely, we find that value at O.M. Scott was essentially increased by (1) a significant reduction in what may be termed cognitive agency costs while (2) the new dominant shareholder contributed substantial cognitive value by stimulating and advising a dynamic learning process leading to enforced managerial capabilities, especially with respect to more effective routines of cash management.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Wirtz, 2003. "A resource based interpretation of performance enhancing capital structure changes: The O.M. Scott LBO revisited," Working Papers CREGO 1030302, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
  • Handle: RePEc:dij:wpfarg:1030302
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
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    4. Wruck, Karen Hopper & Jensen, Michael C., 1994. "Science, specific knowledge, and total quality management," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 247-287, November.
    5. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
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    7. Stulz, ReneM., 1990. "Managerial discretion and optimal financing policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 3-27, July.
    8. Richard N. Langlois, 1994. "Cognition and Capabilities: Opportunities Seized and Missed in the History of the Computer Industry," Industrial Organization 9406003, EconWPA.
    9. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
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    11. Baker, George P. & Wruck, Karen H., 1989. "Organizational changes and value creation in leveraged buyouts : The case of the O.M. Scott & Sons Company," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 163-190, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    capital structure; cognitive agency costs; cognitive value; managerial agency costs;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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