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In a later paper, Modigliani and Miller argued that a firm's value is not affected by its dividend policy (payment to stockholders) because increased return in the form of dividends is offset by the reduction in the firm's assets.
Modigliani and Merton Miller published their famous The Cost of Capital, Corporate Finance and the Theory of Investment in 1958. The paper urged a fundamental objection to the traditional view of corporate finance, according to which a corporation can reduce its cost of capital by finding the right debt-to-equity ratio. According to Modigliani and Miller, however, there was no right ratio, so corporate managers should seek to minimize tax liability and maximize corporate net wealth, letting the debt ratio chips fall where they will. Modigliani and Miller also claimed that the real market value of a company depends mostly on investors' expectations of what the company will earn in the future, not the company's debt-to-equity ratio.
The way in which Modigliani and Miller arrived at their conclusion made use of the "no arbitrage" argument, that is the premise that any state of affairs that will allow traders of any market instrument to create a riskless money machine will almost immediately disappear. They set the pattern for many arguments in subsequent years based on that premise.
The Modigliani-Miller theorem forms the basis for modern thinking on capital structure. The basic theorem states that, in the absence of taxes, bankruptcy costs, and asymmetric information, and in an efficient market, the value of a firm is unaffected by how that firm is financed. It does not matter if the firm's capital is raised by issuing stock or selling debt. It does not matter what the firm's dividend policy is. Therefore, the Modigliani-Miller theorem is also often called the capital structure irrelevance principle.
The theorem was originally proved under the assumption of no taxes, but can also be extended to a situation with taxes. Consider two firms that are identical except for their financial structures. The first (Firm U) is unlevered: that is, it is financed by equity only. The other (Firm L) is levered: it is financed partly by equity, and partly by debt. The Modigliani-Miller theorem states that the value of the two firms is the same.
Createwealth8888's own words: "I also love dividend play stocks but I treat the dividend as safety net if the stock price falls temporary but not as a buying decision. Technically on chart-wise, I must see that the stock price has the probability of moving higher before considering it in the watch-list."
Read? Are High Ratio Dividend Payout Stocks Make A Low Risk Investment? - Part 2
Who want to argue with the Nobel Prize winner on "dividends are irrelevant to a company's value"?
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