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Business Organizations Law

Cornell University Law School

Agency costs

2008

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Deconstructing Equity: Public Ownership, Agency Costs, And Complete Capital Markets, Charles K. Whitehead, Ronald J. Gilson Jan 2008

Deconstructing Equity: Public Ownership, Agency Costs, And Complete Capital Markets, Charles K. Whitehead, Ronald J. Gilson

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The traditional law and finance focus on agency costs presumes that the premise that diversified public shareholders are the cheapest risk bearers is immutable. In this Essay, we raise the possibility that changes in the capital markets have called this premise into question, drawn into sharp relief by the recent private equity wave in which the size and range of public companies being taken private expanded significantly. In brief, we argue that private owners, in increasingly complete markets, can transfer risk in discrete slices to counterparties who, in turn, can manage or otherwise diversify away those risks they choose to ...