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What is Capital Structure?

Capital structure gives a framework for a company’s makeup and how it finances its operations, because it includes long and short-term debt plus common and preferred equity. Capital structure is a mix of a company's long-term debt, specific short-term debt, common equity and preferred equity. Often times, investors will want to look at a company’s debt-to-equity ratio as a telltale of what their capital structure is. The higher the debt-to-equity ratio, the more that particular company is borrowing to finance operations versus using cash flow or assets on hand. Continue reading...

What is Dividend Recapitalization?

Leveraged Recapitalizations involve issuing new corporate bonds to finance a share buyback or large dividend, essentially rebalancing the capital structure of the business. Dividend recapitalizations will cause the share price to reduce, largely because the company’s debt-to-equity ratio has changed. This can be used to make the company look unattractive to potential acquirers. Recapitalizations are restructuring of a company’s capital. Dividend recapitalizations are sometimes called dividend recaps. Continue reading...

What is the Equity Multiplier?

The Equity Multiplier is a number used to compare companies, arrived at by dividing total assets by owner’s equity, and it gives an idea of what proportion of the company’s assets have been financed through equity vs debt. In general a low Equity Multiplier is a good sign because it means that a higher proportion of equity has been used to acquire assets, as opposed to funding assets with debt. However, the absence of significant debt could mean that the company lacked the credit rating to issue debt or take out loans. Continue reading...

What is Enterprise Value?

Enterprise Value is the total cost to acquire a company. The Enterprise Value of a company is the amount that would have to be paid for full ownership of it, which would include market capitalization (price per share x shares outstanding) + net debt (all liabilities - cash and equivalents). Market cap alone is technically just shareholders equity, and not capital from debt, so Enterprise Value adds that in for consideration. Enterprise value is the numerator in EV/E (Enterprise Value over EBITDA), a very common valuation ratio. Continue reading...

What is Return on Sales?

Also called net operating margin, return on sales can indicate how well a company makes use of its sales revenue. By dividing Operating Profit by Net Sales, we can arrive at the Return on Sales. Essentially what we’ve done is broken down profits on a per sales basis. We can see what percentage of sales ends up as profit, or, on the other side of the coin, how much profit is generated per unit of sales. This can be useful for a comparison of companies of different sizes, because it excludes their assets, capital structures, taxes, and interest. Continue reading...

What is the Structure of a Corporation?

Each state has different stipulations concerning what defines a corporation, but there are some commonalities across the country. Businesses must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State in the state of their home office, which detail the proposed structure of the business, before their status as a corporation can be approved. Each corporation is going to be different, of course, and each state has slightly different laws delineating the structure and bylaws that corporations must adopt. Continue reading...

What is Capital Accumulation?

Capital Accumulation is the act of acquiring more assets which will generate more profits or other benefits to the company or economy. Capital accumulation is sometimes discussed in relation to rumors that a company is preparing to acquire another company. This could be the case for one or two reasons. One would be that the company has actually been buying up shares in the target company for some time. Continue reading...

What kind of venture capital funds exist?

Different venture capital firms focus on different types of funding. Some are more attuned to late-stage funding for proven companies who still have not gone public, while others prefer to help startups with bright futures. There are large venture capital firms, which might invest in any start-up company, as long as they think that the company has potential. There are also more narrow VC firms specializing only in one or a small number of industries, such as clean energy, or semiconductors. Continue reading...

What is the Capitalization Ratio?

The capitalization ratio measures a company’s leverage, or the amount of long-term debt it holds relative to long-term debt + shareholder equity. Essentially, it is a measure of how capitalized a company is to support operations and growth. Continue reading...

What is Working Capital?

Working capital is computed by subtracting a business’s current liabilities from its current assets. Current means that the assets and liabilities exist within the current year. The appropriate amount of working capital will vary from business to business. Some businesses have a need for a large amount of working capital, and some can maintain a healthy balance sheet with relatively little working capital. Whatever the situation is for a particular business, the approximate calculation for the amount of working capital that they have to use is arrived at by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. Continue reading...

What is a Capital Account?

The Capital Account in a company is where paid-in capital, retained earnings, and treasury stock is accounted for. In macroeconomics, the Capital Account shows the national net change in ownership of assets. In accounting and bookkeeping, the Capital Account tracks the amount of Capital on hand at a company, which is the sum of the paid-in capital, the retained earnings, and the value of the treasury stock. Paid-in capital is the money collected from investors during an IPO or other stock issue. Continue reading...

What is an Accelerated Return Note (ARN)?

An accelerated return note (ARN) is an unsecured debt instrument that uses derivatives to offer leveraged returns and minimal loss exposure to retail investors. Accelerated Return Notes came onto the scene around 2010-2012. They are a form of structured note marketed primarily by Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. They were packaged as offering “accelerated” returns on familiar indexes and stocks. The way such returns are generated is by taking up 2x or 3x positions in calls and futures on the index or stock of choice. Continue reading...

What is Paid-Up Capital?

Paid-up capital is the money (‘capital’) collected by a company from issuing shares of their stock. In other words, its money raised from issuing and selling stock. Paid-in capital is not money borrowed, but rather money invested in the company by shareholders. A company will generally issue shares of stock with a par value and an offer price, and paid-up capital represents the difference between total dollars invested and par value of the shares. Continue reading...

What is 'Pro Forma'?

Pro Forma is a term used frequently in the context of a company’s financial statement, and refers to the manner in which figures are presented. In Latin the term “Pro Forma” means “as a matter of form,” and in the case of a financial statement refers to how figures are presented either in present form or as projections. For publicly traded corporations, statements prepared with the pro forma method are generally made ready ahead of a planned transaction such as an acquisition, merger, or some change in corporate structure based on new investment or capital changes. Continue reading...

What is the Capital Market Line?

The Capital Market Line is a complex concept, but put simply, it is a calculation meant to give the investor/analyst a range of potential returns for a portfolio, based on the risk free rate and the standard deviation of the portfolio. The Capital Market Line is a part of the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) that solves for expected return at various levels of risk. It takes into consideration a portfolio’s risk assets and the risk-free rate. Continue reading...

What Does Market Capitalization Mean?

Market Capitalization refers to the total ‘market-size’ of a company, calculated by the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the stock price. Investors should take care not to consider a company’s market capitalization as an accurate reflection of the company’s actual size by assets. Companies with very large market capitalizations can still operate with net losses, Twitter being an example. Continue reading...

What is the Debt to Capital Ratio?

The debt-to-capital ratio is a measure of a company’s leverage that looks at total debt compared to total capital (shareholder equity + debt). This measure of leverage is not a globally accepted accounting practice, therefore it is important for analysts to learn exactly what is being included by the company as their debt and equity in calculating the ratio. Generally speaking, a higher debt to capital ratio indicates that the company is financing more of its operations and needs through the debt markets versus with equity. Comparing debt-to-capital ratios amongst companies within the same sector or industry can be a useful exercise. Continue reading...

What is Mutual Fund Classification According to Market Capitalization?

One way of classifying mutual funds is by the market capitalizations of the companies they invest in. Mutual funds can invest in stocks and bonds of foreign corporations, or corporations in the biotechnology industry, or with any other objective they may have. But one way to manage it is by size—to capture market exposure for companies of different sizes. The size of a company is defined by the amount of market capitalization it has, which is the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the share price. Some indexes and funds will adjust market cap rankings to give weight to “free float,” which is the amount of market capitalization that is freely trading, and is not held by other companies, governments, or founding families. Continue reading...

What can I learn about venture capital?

Many people know about venture capitalists that help provide the funding for startup companies in Silicon Valley and other areas. In reality, only a small portion of venture capital is directed at seed money for startups. The rest of it is directed at companies in various phases of growth that need capital to fuel a new expansion or to turn their business around. Venture capital comes from individual investors or venture capital firms who agree to infuse new money into a business in exchange for an equity stake in the business going forward. Continue reading...

What is the minimum investment in a typical venture capital fund?

Minimum investments in venture capital funds tend to be vast sums of money. They tend to be for $1 million or more but can be as low as $250,000. As with hedge funds, the minimum investment is very steep and suitable only for accredited investors and qualified buyers. A typical minimum investment in a VC fund varies between $1 to $5 million, but it can be over $25 million. Most of the investments in venture capital funds are made in terms of commitments: you commit a certain amount of money, and when a venture capital fund finds an appropriate investment, it makes a “call” on you to deposit the money with them, perhaps in increments over a period of several years. Continue reading...