Potential dividends versus actual cash flows in firm valuation
Practitioners and some academics use potential dividends rather than actual payments to shareholders for valuing a firm’s equity. We underline the differences between the two methods and present some arguments supporting the thesis that firm valuation with potential dividends overstate the actual value of the firm’s equity. In particular, consistently with DeAngelo and DeAngelo (2006, 2007), we underline that cash flows create value for shareholders only if they are withdrawn from the firm, and that the use of potential dividends may lead to contradictions. This paper is a modified version of the theoretical part (sections 1-3) of Velez-Pareja, I., and Magni, C.A. (2008). Potential Dividends and Actual Cash Flows. Theoretical and Empirical Reasons for Using ‘Actual’ and Dismissing ‘Potential’, Or: How not to Pull Potential Rabbits Out of Actual Hats.
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- Merton H. Miller & Franco Modigliani, 1961. "Dividend Policy, Growth, and the Valuation of Shares," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34, pages 1-411.
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- DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda, 2006. "The irrelevance of the MM dividend irrelevance theorem," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 293-315, February.
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- 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.
- 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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