Asset Tangibility and Capital Allocation
Journal of Corporate Finance,
Firms comprise divisions that often differ with respect to the degree of asset tangibility. As the strength of borrowing constraints depends on the liquidation value of assets, these firms influence their debt capacity by allocating funds across divisions. We argue that a company whose capital allocation is not verifiable suffers from a dynamic inconsistency problem, as it tends to allocate resources in favor of divisions with fewer tangible assets, leading to a tight borrowing constraint. When capital allocation is verifiable, committing to invest only little there eases this constraint, although it implies a deviation from a return maximizing allocation.
Asset Tangibility and Capital Allocation within Multinational Corporations
IWH Discussion Papers,
We investigate capital allocation across a firm's divisions that differ with respect to the degree of asset tangibility. We adopt an incomplete contracting approach where the outcome of potential debt renegotiations depends on the liquidation value of assets. However, with diversity in terms of asset tangibility, liquidation proceeds depend on how funds have been allocated across divisions. As diversity can be traced back to institutional differences between countries, we provide a rationale for multidivisional decision- making in an international context. A main finding is that multinationals may be bound to go to certain countries when financiers cannot control the capital allocation.