The Five Principles of Corporate Finance
Prof. Ian Giddy, New
This simple note identifies the five factors that help maximise
shareholder value. The perspective is one of finance --- my
perspective, since I teach finance -- but these principles, I believe,
should be among the core strategies of every corporate executive.
The Five Princliples
in projects that yield a return greater than the minimum acceptable
hurdle rate – also known as the required return on capital, or WACC
Sell assets or businesses that are worth more outside the
firm than within; buy businesses worth more inside the company than
- The hurdle rate should be higher for
riskier projects and reflect the financing mix used - owners’ funds
(equity) or borrowed money (debt)
- Returns on projects should be measured
based on cash flows generated and the timing of these cash flows;
Choose a financing mix that minimizes the weighted average
cost of capital, while as far as possible matching the business being
If there are not enough investments that earn the hurdle
rate, return the cash to stockholders
- Acquisition gains come form operating
synergies or control restructuring, net of costs
Minimize unnecessary financial risks.
- The form of returns - dividends and stock
buybacks - will depend upon the stockholders’ characteristics
- The business of business is to take business risks.
Financial risks, once identified, can be hedged at little or no cost,
using financing or derivative instruments.