European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Les Cahiers de Recherche,
HEC Paris

No 672: The Investment Policy and the Pricing of Equity in a Levered Firm: a Re-examination of the contingent claims Valuation Approach

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Rajna GIBSON-ASNER: Ecole des HEC, Universite de Lausanne, Postal: 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract: In this study we re-examine the pricing of equity and the risk incentives of shareholders in levered firms. We derive a down-and-out call equity valuation model which rests on the assumption that shareholders choose the optimal investment and asset returns' volatility as a function of current leverage. Contrarily to the Black and Scholes framework where, irrespective of the firm's leverage, they would always select infinite volatility projects, here the more deep out-of-the-money the shareholders' claim, the greater their incentives to select riskier investment projects. The model is thus consistent which and quantifies the asset substitution problem previously acknowledged by the agency literature.

Keywords: agency problems; asset substitution; contingent claim; down-and-out call option; capital structure; leverage; risk incentives

JEL-codes: D92; G10; G12; G31

13 pages, April 1, 1999

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