The intellectual fashion has been for companies to have “efficient” balance-sheets. If cash is not immediately needed to reinvest in the business, it should be handed back to shareholders, who can use it more profitably elsewhere. Hoarding cash for a rainy day was seen as a failure of executive imagination.Buttonwood in the Economist.
Corporate-finance theory may state that the value of a company should not be affected by its decision to finance itself with equity or debt. But, in practice, interest payments are generally tax-deductible; dividends are not. That gives companies a big push in the direction of debt.
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