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  • Venture Capital and Private Equity Contracting

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  • Venture Capital and Private Equity Contracting An International Perspective

    Douglas J. Cumming Associate Professor and Ontario Research Chair, York University – Schulich School of Business, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Sofi a A. Johan Senior Research Fellow, Tilburg Law and Economic Centre (TILEC), Tilburg, The Netherlands


    Academic Press is an imprint of Elsevier

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  • Academic Press is an imprint of Elsevier. 30 Corporate Drive, Suite 400, Burlington, MA 01803, USA 525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, California 92101-4495, USA 84 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8RR, UK

    Copyright © 2009, Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

    Permissions may be sought directly from Elsevier's Science & Technology Rights Department in Oxford, UK: phone: ( � 44) 1865 843830, fax: ( � 44) 1865 853333, E-mail: You may also complete your request online via the Elsevier homepage ( ), by selecting “ Support & Contact ” then “ Copyright and Permission ” and then “ Obtaining Permissions. ”

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Application submitted

    British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

    ISBN: 978-0-12-198581-3

    Printed in the United States

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  • For Sasha Adeline

    and Dylan Jedi

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  • Preface ix

    Part One Introduction 1

    1. Introduction and Overview 3 2. Overview of Agency Theory 27 3. Overview of Institutional Contexts, Empirical Methods 51

    Part Two Fund Structure and Governance 67

    4. What Should Fund Managers Care About? Perspectives from Institutional Investors 69

    5. Limited Partnership Agreements 93 6. Compensation Contracts 129 7. Fundraising and Regulation 163 8. Specialized Investment Mandates 207 9. The Role of Government and Alternative Policy Options 241

    Part Three Financial Contracting between Funds and Entrepreneurs 281

    10. The Investment Process 283 11. Security Design 297 12. Security Design and Adverse Selection 359 13. Corporate Venture Capital Fund Contracts 389 14. Preplanned Exits and Contract Design 409

    Part Four Investor Effort 449

    15. Investor Value-added 451 16. Contracts and Effort 459 17. Home Bias 503 18. Portfolio Size 533


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  • viii Contents

    Part Five Divestment 581

    19. The Divestment Process 583 20. Exit Outcomes 599 21. Contracts and Exits 649 22. Valuation, Returns, and Disclosure 699

    Part Six Conclusion 721

    23. Summary and Concluding Remarks 723

    Online Appendices 727 (

    References 729

    Index 755

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  • This book is intended for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in business, economics, law, and management. It is also directed at practition- ers with an interest in the venture capital and private equity industries, and it covers several different countries. The definitions of the terms venture capital and private equity may differ among countries, however, so in the book we define venture capital as risk capital for small private entrepreneurial firms and private equity as encompassing a broader array of investors, entrepreneurial firms, and transactions, including later-stage investments, turnaround invest- ments, and buyout transactions.

    Financial contracting is the common theme that links the topics covered in this book. This book explains the ways these contracts differ across the many types of venture capital and private equity funds, types of institutional investors, types of entrepreneurial firms, and across countries and over time. We will see when and how financial contracts are pertinent to the allocation of risks, incentives, and rewards for investors and investees alike. This book also examines when and how financial contracts have a significant relationship with actual investment outcomes and successes.

    Why should we care about financial contracting? Venture capital and private equity funds are financial intermediaries between sources of capital and entre- preneurial firms. Sources of capital typically include large institutional investors, including pension funds, banks, insurance companies, and endowments. These and other sources of capital do not have the time or expertise to invest directly in entrepreneurial firms, particularly high-growth firms in high-tech industries. As such, specialized venture capital and private equity funds facilitate the investment process — at a price, of course. These funds are for all intents and purposes organ- izations that are established, capitalized, and operated under specific contractual terms and obligations agreed between the investors and the venture capital and private equity funds. A different type of financial contract governs the relation- ship between venture capital and private equity funds and their investee entrepre- neurial firms, how such firms are capitalized, and how they are in turn operated. It is obvious therefore that financial contracting is not only something that ven- ture capital and private equity funds do, but it is also in essence what they are.

    Broadly framed questions addressed in this book include, but are not limited to, the following: ● What covenants and compensation terms are used in limited partnership contracts? ● In what ways are limited partnership contracts related to market conditions and

    fund manager characteristics, and how do these contracts differ across countries?


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  • x Preface

    ● What are the cash flow and control rights that are typically assigned in venture capital and private equity contracts with investee firms, and when do fund manag- ers demand more contractual rights?

    ● Do different contractual rights assigned to different parties influence the effort pro- vided by the investor(s)?

    ● In what ways are different financial contracts related to the success of venture capi- tal and private equity investments?

    By considering venture capital and private equity contracting in an interna- tional setting, this book offers an understanding of why venture capital and private equity markets differ with respect to fund governance, investee firm governance, and investee firm performance. This book provides examples of actual contracts that have been used in practice, including a limited partner- ship agreement, a term sheet, a shareholder agreement, and a subscription agreement. In addition, we provide datasets of venture capital and private equity that include details on a large number of actual contracts. It is impor- tant and relevant to review data to distinguish real investment contracts from actual transactions and to explain how financial contracts are central to actual investment decisions and investment outcomes. Without analyzing data, we would at best be limited to our best guesses, which is not our intention. The data considered in this book are international in scope from over 40 countries, with a focus on Canada, Europe, and the United States. It is important to con- sider data from a multitude of countries to understand how and why venture capital and private equity markets differ around the world. Also, idiosyncratic features of certain countries may distort our understanding of how venture capital and private equity contracts work in practice.

    In short, by considering international datasets and not data from only one country, we can ga


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