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Definition of Firm

Firm Image 1

Firm

Refers to an order to buy or sell that can be executed without confirmation for some fixed period. Also,
a synonym for company.



Related Terms:

Affirmative covenant

A bond covenant that specifies certain actions the firm must take.


Confirmation

he written statement that follows any "trade" in the securities markets. Confirmation is issued
immediately after a trade is executed. It spells out settlement date, terms, commission, etc.


Firm commitment underwriting

An undewriting in which an investment banking firm commits to buy the
entire issue and assumes all financial responsibility for any unsold shares.


Firm's net value of debt

Total firm value minus total firm debt.


Firm-specific risk

See:diversifiable risk or unsystematic risk.



Intrinsic value of a firm

The present value of a firm's expected future net cash flows discounted by the
required rate of return.


Neglected firm effect

The tendency of firms that are neglected by security analysts to outperform firms that
are the subject of considerable attention.


Firm Image 2

Small-firm effect

The tendency of small firms (in terms of total market capitalization) to outperform the
stock market (consisting of both large and small firms).


Target firm

A firm that is the object of a takeover by another firm.


Accounting earnings

Earnings of a firm as reported on its income statement.


Accounting exposure

The change in the value of a firm's foreign currency denominated accounts due to a
change in exchange rates.


Accounting insolvency

Total liabilities exceed total assets. A firm with a negative net worth is insolvent on
the books.


Acquiree

A firm that is being acquired.


Acquirer

A firm or individual that is acquiring something.


acquisition

Takeover of a firm by purchase of that firm’s common
stock or assets.


Acquisition of assets

A merger or consolidation in which an acquirer purchases the selling firm's assets.


Firm Image 3

Adjusted Cash Flow Provided by Continuing Operations

Cash flow provided by operating
activities adjusted to provide a more recurring, sustainable measure. Adjustments to reported cash
provided by operating activities are made to remove such nonrecurring cash items as: the operating
component of discontinued operations, income taxes on items classified as investing or financing activities, income tax benefits from nonqualified employee stock options, the cash effects of purchases and sales of trading securities for nonfinancial firms, capitalized expenditures, and other nonrecurring cash inflows and outflows.


Agency basis

A means of compensating the broker of a program trade solely on the basis of commission
established through bids submitted by various brokerage firms. agency incentive arrangement. A means of
compensating the broker of a program trade using benchmark prices for issues to be traded in determining
commissions or fees.



agency problems

Conflicts of interest between the firm’s owners and managers.


Aggregation

Process in corporate financial planning whereby the smaller investment proposals of each of the
firm's operational units are added up and in effect treated as a big picture.


Aggressive Cost Capitalization

Cost capitalization that stretches the flexibility within generally
accepted accounting principles beyond its intended limits, resulting in reporting as assets
items that more reasonably should have been expensed. The purpose of this activity is likely to
alter financial results and financial position in order to create a potentially misleading impression
of a firm's business performance or financial position.


Annual report

Yearly record of a publicly held company's financial condition. It includes a description of the
firm's operations, its balance sheet and income statement. SEC rules require that it be distributed to all
shareholders. A more detailed version is called a 10-K.


Asset activity ratios

Ratios that measure how effectively the firm is managing its assets.


Asset substitution

A firm's investing in assets that are riskier than those that the debtholders expected.


Asset substitution problem

Arises when the stockholders substitute riskier assets for the firm's existing
assets and expropriate value from the debtholders.


Assets

A firm's productive resources.


authorized share capital

Maximum number of shares that the company is permitted to issue, as specified in the firm’s articles of incorporation.


Firm Image 4

Authorized shares

Number of shares authorized for issuance by a firm's corporate charter.



Automatic stay

The restricting of liability holders from collection efforts of collateral seizure, which is
automatically imposed when a firm files for bankruptcy under Chapter 11.


Average age of accounts receivable

The weighted-average age of all of the firm's outstanding invoices.


Average cost of capital

A firm's required payout to the bondholders and to the stockholders expressed as a
percentage of capital contributed to the firm. Average cost of capital is computed by dividing the total
required cost of capital by the total amount of contributed capital.


Back office

Brokerage house clerical operations that support, but do not include, the trading of stocks and
other securities. Includes all written confirmation and settlement of trades, record keeping and regulatory
compliance.
Back-end loan fund
A mutual fund that charges investors a fee to sell (redeem) shares, often ranging from
4% to 6%. Some back-end load funds impose a full commission if the shares are redeemed within a
designated time, such as one year. The commission decreases the longer the investor holds the shares. The
formal name for the back-end load is the contingent deferred sales charge, or CDSC.


balance sheet

Financial statement that shows the value of the
firm’s assets and liabilities at a particular time.


Banker's acceptance

A short-term credit investment created by a non-financial firm and guaranteed by a
bank as to payment. Acceptances are traded at discounts from face value in the secondary market. These
instruments have been a popular investment for money market funds. They are commonly used in
international transactions.


Bankruptcy

State of being unable to pay debts. Thus, the ownership of the firm's assets is transferred from
the stockholders to the bondholders.


bankruptcy

The reorganization or liquidation of a firm that cannot pay its debts.


Bankruptcy risk

The risk that a firm will be unable to meet its debt obligations. Also referred to as default or insolvency risk.


Bankruptcy view

The argument that expected bankruptcy costs preclude firms from being financed entirely
with debt.


BARRA's performance analysis (PERFAN)

A method developed by BARRA, a consulting firm in
Berkeley, Calif. It is commonly used by institutional investors applying performance attribution analysis to
evaluate their money managers' performances.


Basic business strategies

Key strategies a firm intends to pursue in carrying out its business plan.


Best-efforts sale

A method of securities distribution/ underwriting in which the securities firm agrees to sell
as much of the offering as possible and return any unsold shares to the issuer. As opposed to a guaranteed or
fixed price sale, where the underwriter agrees to sell a specific number of shares (with the securities firm
holding any unsold shares in its own account if necessary).


Beta risk

Risk of a firm measured from the standpoint of an investor who holds a highly diversified portfolio.


Bidder

A firm or person that wants to buy a firm or security.


Block house

Brokerage firms that help to find potential buyers or sellers of large block trades.


Book

cash A firm's cash balance as reported in its financial statements. Also called ledger cash.


book value

Net worth of the firm’s assets or liabilities according
to the balance sheet.


Buy-side analyst

A financial analyst employed by a non-brokerage firm, typically one of the larger money
management firms that purchase securities on their own accounts.


Capital

Money invested in a firm.


Capital budget

A firm's set of planned capital expenditures.


Capital budgeting

The process of choosing the firm's long-term capital assets.


capital budgeting decision

Decision as to which real assets the firm should acquire.


Capital market imperfections view

The view that issuing debt is generally valuable but that the firm's
optimal choice of capital structure is a dynamic process that involves the other views of capital structure (net
corporate/personal tax, agency cost, bankruptcy cost, and pecking order), which result from considerations of
asymmetric information, asymmetric taxes, and transaction costs.


Capital rationing

Placing one or more limits on the amount of new investment undertaken by a firm, either
by using a higher cost of capital, or by setting a maximum on parts of, and/or the entirety of, the capital
budget.


capital structure

firm’s mix of long-term financing.


Capital Structure

The mix of the various types of debt and equity capital maintained by a firm. The more debt capital a firm has in its capital structure, the more highly leveraged the firm is considered to be.


Capitalization

The debt and/or equity mix that fund a firm's assets.


Capitalization table

A table showing the capitalization of a firm, which typically includes the amount of
capital obtained from each source - long-term debt and common equity - and the respective capitalization
ratios.


CARs (cumulative abnormal returns)

a measure used in academic finance articles to measure the excess returns an investor would have received over a particular time period if he or she were invested in a particular stock.
This is typically used in control and takeover studies, where stockholders are paid a premium for being taken over. Starting some time period before the takeover (often five days before the first announced bid, but sometimes a longer period), the researchers calculate the actual daily stock returns for the target firm and subtract out the expected market returns (usually calculated using the firm’s beta and applying it to overall market movements during the time period under observation).
The excess actual return over the capital asset pricing model-determined expected return market is called an ‘‘abnormal return.’’ The cumulation of the daily abnormal returns over the time period under observation is the CAR. The term CAR(-5, 0) means the CAR calculated from five days before the
announcement to the day of announcement. The CAR(-1, 0) is a control premium, although Mergerstat generally uses the stock price five days before announcement rather than one day before announcement as the denominator in its control premium calculation. However, the CAR for any period other than (-1, 0) is not mathematically equivalent to a control premium.


Cash budget

A forecasted summary of a firm's expected cash inflows and cash outflows as well as its
expected cash and loan balances.


Cash conversion cycle

The length of time between a firm's purchase of inventory and the receipt of cash
from accounts receivable.


cash conversion cycle

Period between firm’s payment for materials
and collection on its sales.


Cash discount

An incentive offered to purchasers of a firm's product for payment within a specified time
period, such as ten days.


cash dividend

Payment of cash by the firm to its shareholders.


Cash Flow

In investments, NET INCOME plus DEPRECIATION and other noncash charges. In this sense, it is synonymous with CASH EARNINGS. Investors focus on cash flow from operations because of their concern with a firm's ability to pay dividends.


Cash-flow break-even point

The point below which the firm will need either to obtain additional financing
or to liquidate some of its assets to meet its fixed costs.


Cash flow from operations

A firm's net cash inflow resulting directly from its regular operations
(disregarding extraordinary items such as the sale of fixed assets or transaction costs associated with issuing
securities), calculated as the sum of net income plus non-cash expenses that were deducted in calculating net
income.


Cash flow time-line

Line depicting the operating activities and cash flows for a firm over a particular period.


Cash ratio

The proportion of a firm's assets held as cash.


Cashout

Refers to a situation where a firm runs out of cash and cannot readily sell marketable securities.


Claim dilution

A reduction in the likelihood one or more of the firm's claimants will be fully repaid,
including time value of money considerations.


Clearing member

A member firm of a clearing house. Each clearing member must also be a member of the
exchange. Not all members of the exchange, however, are members of the clearing organization. All trades of
a non-clearing member must be registered with, and eventually settled through, a clearing member.


Clientele effect

The grouping of investors who have a preference that the firm follow a particular financing
policy, such as the amount of leverage it uses.


Coinsurance effect

Refers to the fact that the merger of two firms decreases the probability of default on
either firm's debt.


Collection policy

Procedures followed by a firm in attempting to collect accounts receivables.


Commercial Bank

A privately owned, profit-seeking firm that accepts deposits and makes loans.


commercial paper

Short-term unsecured notes issued by firms.


Commission house

A firm which buys and sells future contracts for customer accounts. Related: futures
commission merchant, omnibus account.


Common stock ratios

Ratios that are designed to measure the relative claims of stockholders to earnings
(cash flow per share), and equity (book value per share) of a firm.


Comparative credit analysis

A method of analysis in which a firm is compared to others that have a desired
target debt rating in order to infer an appropriate financial ratio target.


Competitive bidding

A securities offering process in which securities firms submit competing bids to the
issuer for the securities the issuer wishes to sell.


Composition

Voluntary arrangement to restructure a firm's debt, under which payment is reduced.


Comprehensive due diligence investigation

The investigation of a firm's business in conjunction with a
securities offering to determine whether the firm's business and financial situation and its prospects are
adequately disclosed in the prospectus for the offering.


Conglomerate

A firm engaged in two or more unrelated businesses.


Conglomerate merger

A merger involving two or more firms that are in unrelated businesses.


Consolidation

The combining of two or more firms to form an entirely new entity.


Consumer credit

Credit granted by a firm to consumers for the purchase of goods or services. Also called
retail credit.


Contingent Liability

An obligation that is dependent on the occurrence or nonoccurrence of
one or more future events to confirm the existence of an obligation, the amount owed, the payee,
or the date payable.


Contingent pension liability

Under ERISA, the firm is liable to the plan participants for up to 39% of the net
worth of the firm.


Controller

The corporate manager responsible for the firm's accounting activities.


Convenience yield

The extra advantage that firms derive from holding the commodity rather than the future.


Convertibles

Securities (generally bonds or preferred shares) that are exchangeable at the option of the holder for common shares of the issuing firm.


Core Earnings

A measure of earnings that includes only the results of the primary operating
activities of the firm. It is most common to see the measure used by financial firms.


Corporate acquisition

The acquisition of one firm by anther firm.


Corporate finance

One of the three areas of the discipline of finance. It deals with the operation of the firm
(both the investment decision and the financing decision) from that firm's point of view.


Corporate financial planning

Financial planning conducted by a firm that encompasses preparation of both
long- and short-term financial plans.


Corporate processing float

The time that elapses between receipt of payment from a customer and the
depositing of the customer's check in the firm's bank account; the time required to process customer
payments.


cost of capital (COC)

the weighted average cost of the
various sources of funds (debt and stock) that comprise a
firm’s financial structure


Covenants

Provisions in a bond indenture or preferred stock agreement that require the bond or preferred
stock issuer to take certain specified actions (affirmative covenants) or to refrain from taking certain specified
actions (negative covenants).


Cramdown

The ability of the bankruptcy court to confirm a plan of reorganization over the objections of
some classes of creditors.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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