Learning Objectives

Identify the concerns to ask in selecting the appropriate form of ownership for a company.Describe the single proprietorship and also partnership creates of company, and specify the advantages and disbenefits.Identify the various kinds of partnerships, and explain the prominence of a partnership agreement.Exsimple exactly how corporations are developed and also exactly how they operate.Discuss the advantages and disbenefits of the corporate form of ownership.Examine special types of company ownership, including limited-licapability service providers, and also not-for-profit corporations.Define mergers and also acquisitions, and define why service providers are urged to merge or get other providers.

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The Ice Cream Men

Who would certainly have actually believed it? Two ex-hippies via solid interests in social activism would end up starting among the best-well-known ice cream companies in the country—Ben & Jerry’s. Perhaps it was meant to be. Ben Cohen (the “Ben” of Ben & Jerry’s) constantly had actually a fascicountry through ice cream. As a kid, he made his own mixtures by shattering his favorite cookies and also candies right into his ice cream. But it wasn’t until his senior year in high school that he became an main “ice cream male,” happily driving his truck through areas filled via youngsters eager to buy his ice cream pops. After high college, Ben tried college however it wasn’t for him. He attfinished Colgate University for a year and also a half prior to he dropped out to go back to his actual love: being an ice cream man. He tried college again—this time at Skideven more, wright here he studied ceramic and jewelry making—yet, in spite of his selection of courses, still didn’t favor it.

Figure 6.1: Ben Cohen and also Jerry Greenarea in 2010

In the meantime, Jerry Greenfield (the “Jerry” of Ben & Jerry’s) was adhering to a comparable course. He majored in pre-med at Oberlin College in the really hopes of one day becoming a medical professional. But he had to provide up on this goal once he was not embraced into clinical college. On a positive note, though, his college education and learning steered him into a much more lucrative field: the human being of ice cream making. He acquired his first peek at the ice cream market once he worked as a scooper in the student cafeteria at Oberlin. So, fourteenager years after they first met on the junior high institution track team, Ben and Jerry rejoined and also decided to go right into ice cream making significant time. They moved to Burlington, Vermont—a college town in require of an ice cream parlor—and completed a $5 correspondence course from Penn State on making ice cream. After acquiring an A in the course—not surprising, offered that the tests were open book—they took the plunge: with their life savings of $8,000 and also $4,000 of borrowed funds they put up an ice cream shop in a made-over gas station on a busy street edge in Burlington.1 The next significant decision was which form of service ownership was ideal for them. This chapter introduces you to their options.

Factors to Consider

If you’re beginning a brand-new organization, you need to decide which legal develop of ownership is best for you and your business. Do you want to own the business yourself and also operate as a sole proprietorship? Or, perform you desire to share ownership, operating as a partnership or a corporation? Before we comment on the pros and also cons of these 3 forms of ownership, let’s address some of the questions that you’d probably ask yourself in choosing the appropriate legal form for your business.

In establishing up your business, do you want to minimize the prices of getting started? Do you hope to protect against complex federal government regulations and reporting requirements?How a lot manage would you like? How much duty for running the company are you willing to share? What around sharing the profits?Do you desire to stop distinct taxes?Do you have all the skills required to run the business?Are you likely to get in addition to your co-owners over a prolonged period of time?Is it important to you that the service endure you?What are your financing needs and also just how carry out you plan to finance your company?How a lot personal expocertain to licapacity are you willing to accept? Do you feel unstraightforward about accepting personal licapability for the actions of fellow owners?

No single develop of ownership will certainly give you whatever you desire. You’ll have to make some trade-offs. Since each option has both advantages and disadvantages, your job is to decide which one offers the attributes that are most vital to you. In the adhering to sections we’ll compare 3 ownership alternatives (single proprietorship, partnership, corporation) on these eight dimensions.

Sole Proprietorship and also its Advantages

In a sole proprietorship, as the owner, you have complete regulate over your organization. You make all necessary decisions and also are mostly responsible for all day-to-day tasks. In exreadjust for assuming all this responsibility, you acquire all the revenue earned by the company. Profits earned are taxed as personal earnings, so you don’t have to pay any special federal and also state earnings taxes.

Disbenefits of Sole Proprietorships

For many people, but, the single proprietorship is not suitable. The flip side of enjoying finish regulate is having to supply all the different talents that may be crucial to make the service a success. And when you’re gone, the service dissolves. You also need to rely on your very own resources for financing: in effect, you are the service and any type of money borrowed by the organization is loaned to you personally. Even even more crucial, the sole proprietor bears limitless liability for any kind of losses incurred by the company. The principle of limitless individual liability suggests that if the company incurs a debt or suffers a catastrophe (say, gaining sued for causing an injury to someone), the owner is personally liable. As a sole proprietor, you put your personal assets (your bank account, your automobile, perhaps also your home) at threat for the sake of your business. You deserve to lessen your danger via insurance, yet your liability expocertain can still be comprehensive. Given that Ben and Jerry chose to start their ice cream organization together (and also therefore the business was not owned by just one person), they might not set their agency up as a sole proprietorship.


A partnership (or basic partnership) is a service owned jointly by 2 or even more civilization. About 10 percent of U.S. businesses are partnerships2 and also though the huge majority are little, some are fairly huge. For instance, the significant four public audit firms are partnerships. Setting up a partnership is even more complex than establishing up a sole proprietorship, yet it’s still relatively easy and also inexpensive. The expense varies according to size and also intricacy. It’s possible to create a straightforward partnership without the aid of a lawyer or an accountant, though it’s generally a good principle to acquire expert advice.

Professionals can help you recognize and resolve concerns that may later on create disputes among partners.

The Partnership Agreement

The impact of disputes can be minimized if the partners have executed a well-planned partnership agreement that specifies everyone’s rights and duties. The agreement could carry out such details as the following:

Amount of cash and various other contributions to be made by each partnerDivision of partnership income (or loss)Partner responsibilities—who does whatConditions under which a companion can market an interemainder in the companyConditions for disresolving the partnershipConditions for settling disputes

Unlimited Licapability and also the Partnership

A major problem with partnerships, as with single proprietorships, is unlimited liability: in this case, each partner is personally liable not just for his or her own actions but also for the actions of all the partners. If your partner in an architectural firm provides a mistake that causes a structure to collapse, the loss your business incurs results you just as a lot as it would him or her. And here’s the really bad news: if the service doesn’t have actually the cash or other assets to cover losses, you deserve to be personally sued for the amount owed. In various other words, the party that experienced a loss bereason of the error can sue you for your individual assets. Many type of human being are understandably reluctant to enter into partnerships bereason of unlimited licapability. Certain forms of businesses enable owners to limit their licapacity. These include restricted partnerships and also corporations.

Limited Partnerships

The regulation permits company owners to create a restricted partnership which has two forms of partners: a solitary general partner who runs the service and also is responsible for its liabilities, and also any type of variety of restricted partners that have limited involvement in the service and whose losses are limited to the amount of their investment.

Advantperiods and also Disbenefits of Partnerships

The partnership has a number of benefits over the single proprietorship. First, it brings together a varied team of talented people who share duty for running the organization. Second, it makes financing easier: the organization can draw on the financial sources of a number of individuals. The partners not just add funds to the organization however have the right to likewise usage personal sources to secure financial institution loans. Finally, continuity needn’t be an issue bereason partners can agree legally to allow the partnership to survive if one or even more partners die.

Still, there are some negatives. First, as debated previously, partners are subject to boundless licapability. Second, being a partner implies that you have to share decision making, and many type of people aren’t comfortable via that case. Not surprisingly, partners often have distinctions of opinion on just how to run a organization, and also arguments have the right to escalate to the allude of jeopardizing the continuance of the business. Third, in enhancement to sharing ideas, partners likewise share revenues. This setup can work-related as long as all partners feel that they’re being rewarded according to their efforts and also accomplishments, however that isn’t constantly the instance. While the partnership form of ownership is viewed negatively by some, it was especially appealing to Ben Cohen and also Jerry Greenfield. Starting their ice cream company as a partnership was inexpensive and also let them combine their limited financial sources and usage their diverse skills and also talents. As friends they trusted each other and also invited common decision making and profit sharing. They were likewise not reluctant to be organized personally liable for each other’s actions.


A corporation (sometimes referred to as a constant or C-corporation) differs from a single proprietorship and also a partnership bereason it’s a legal entity that is entirely separate from the parties that own it. It have the right to enter right into binding contracts, buy and also sell residential or commercial property, sue and be sued, be organized responsible for its actions, and also be taxed. Once businesses reach any substantial dimension, it is valuable to organize as a corporation so that its owners have the right to limit their licapability. Corporations, then, tfinish to be much bigger, on average, than businesses using various other forms of ownership. As Figure 6.2 shows, corporations account for 18 percent of all UNITED STATE businesses yet generate practically 82 percent of the profits.3 Most big well-known businesses are corporations, but so are many kind of of the smaller firms via which most likely you execute business.

Figure 6.2: Types of UNITED STATE Businesses

Ownership and also Stock

Corporations are owned by shareholders that invest money in the business by buying shares of stock. The percentage of the corporation they very own relies on the percent of stock they hold. For instance, if a corporation has issued 100 shares of stock, and you very own 30 shares, you very own 30 percent of the agency. The shareholders elect a board of directors, a group of civilization (mostly from outside the corporation) who are legally responsible for governing the corporation. The board oversees the major policies and decisions made by the corporation, sets objectives and also holds management accountable for achieving them, and hires and also evaluates the height executive, mostly referred to as the CEO (chief executive officer). The board likewise approves the distribution of income to shareholders in the develop of cash payments called dividends.

Benefits of Incorporation

The corpoprice create of company supplies numerous benefits, including restricted liability for shareholders, greater accessibility to financial resources, specialized monitoring, and continuity.

Limited Liability

The a lot of important benefit of incorporation is the limited liability to which shareholders are exposed: they are not responsible for the obligations of the corporation, and also they have the right to shed no even more than the amount that they have actually personally invested in the agency. Limited licapability would have actually been a huge plus for the unfortunate individual whose organization companion shed down their dry cleaning facility. Had they been integrated, the corporation would certainly have actually been liable for the debts incurred by the fire. If the corporation didn’t have actually sufficient money to pay the debt, the individual shareholders would certainly not have actually been obligated to pay anypoint. They would certainly have lost all the money that they’d invested in the business, yet no more.

Financial Resources

Incorporation additionally makes it possible for businesses to raise funds by selling stock. This is a large advantage as a company grows and needs more funds to operate and complete. Depfinishing on its dimension and also financial stamina, the corporation also has actually an benefit over various other forms of service in gaining bank loans. An establiburned corporation have the right to borrow its very own funds, yet as soon as a tiny company needs a loan, the financial institution typically needs that it be guaranteed by its owners.

Specialized Management

Due to the fact that of their dimension and also capability to pay high sales comobjectives and benefits, corporations are primarily able to attract even more skilled and talented employees than are proprietorships and partnerships.

Continuity and Transferability

Another benefit of incorporation is continuity. Because the corporation has actually a legal life separate from the resides of its owners, it have the right to (at leastern in theory) exist forever.

Transferring ownership of a corporation is easy: shareholders sindicate sell their stock to others. Some founders, however, desire to restrict the transfercapability of their stock and also so choose to run as a privately-hosted corporation. The stock in these corporations is organized by only a few people, that are not permitted to offer it to the general public.

Companies with no such limitations on stock sales are referred to as public corporations; stock is obtainable for sale to the general public.

Drawbacks to Incorporation

Like sole proprietorships and partnerships, corporations have actually both positive and negative facets. In single proprietorships and also partnerships, for instance, the individuals that very own and also control a service are the same people. Corpoprice supervisors, yet, don’t necessarily very own stock, and also shareholders don’t necessarily work for the agency. This case have the right to be troublesome if the goals of the 2 teams differ substantially.

Managers, for example, are often more interested in career breakthrough than the in its entirety profitability of the firm. Stockholders can treatment more about revenues without regard for the well-being of employees. This situation is well-known as the firm problem, a problem of interemainder inherent in a connection in which one party is intended to act in the ideal interest of the various other. It is frequently quite difficult to prevent self-interest from entering right into these instances.

Anvarious other drawback to incorporation—one that regularly discourperiods little businesses from incorporating—is the reality that corporations are more costly to erected. When you incorporate filing and also licensing fees with accounting and also attorney fees, incorporating a company can collection you earlier by $1,000 to $6,000 or even more depending on the size and also scope of your service.4 Additionally, corporations are subject to levels of regulation and governmental oversight that have the right to area a burden on small businesses. Finally, corporations are topic to what’s mostly dubbed “double taxation.” Corporations are taxed by the federal and also state governments on their revenue. When these earnings are distributed as dividends, the shareholders pay taxes on these dividends. Corpoprice earnings are hence taxed twice—the corporation pays the taxes the first time and the shareholders pay the taxes the second time.

Five years after beginning their ice cream service, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenarea evaluated the pros and cons of the corporate form of ownership, and also the “pros” won. The major motivator was the must raise funds to build a $2 million manufacturing facility. Not only did Ben and Jerry decide to switch from a partnership to a corporation, yet they additionally made a decision to offer shares of stock to the public (and thus become a public corporation). Their sale of stock to the public was a bit unusual: Ben and Jerry wanted the neighborhood to very own the agency, so instead of offering the stock to anyone interested in buying a share, they available stock to citizens of Vermont just. Ben thought that “company has actually a obligation to provide ago to the neighborhood from which it draws its support.”5 He wanted the firm to be owned by those that lined up in the gas terminal to buy cones. The stock was so well-known that one in eincredibly hundred Vermont families bought stock in the agency.6 Eventually, as the company ongoing to expand also, the stock was offered on a nationwide level.

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Other Types of Firm Ownership

In enhancement to the 3 generally embraced forms of service organization—sole proprietorship, partnership, and also continuous corporations—some company owners choose various other develops of company to fulfill their certain requirements. We’ll look at 2 of these options:

Limited-liability companiesNot-for-profit corporations

Limited-Liability Companies

How would certainly you favor a legal form of organization that provides the attractive attributes of the 3 prevalent develops of company (corporation, sole proprietorship and partnership) and avoids the unattractive attributes of these 3 organization forms? The limited-licapacity company (LLC) accomplishes exactly that. This create offers business owners via limited licapability (a vital advantage of corporations) and no “double taxation” (a vital advantage of single proprietorships and also partnerships). Let’s look at the LLC in even more information.

In 1977, Wyoming ended up being the first state to allow businesses to run as limited-licapability suppliers. Twenty years later, in 1997, Hawaii came to be the last state to provide its approval to the new organization create. Since then, the limited-liability agency has increased in popularity. Its quick development was sustained in part by alters in state statutes that permit a limited-licapability agency to have simply one member. The trfinish to LLCs have the right to be witnessed by analysis firm names on the side of trucks or on storefronts in your city. It is widespread to view names such as Jim Evans Tree Care, LLC, and For-Cats-Only Veterinary Clinic, LLC. But LLCs are not limited to little businesses. Companies such as Crayola, Domino’s Pizza, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and also iSold It (which helps civilization sell their undesirable belongings on eBay) are operating under the limited-licapability create of company.

In a limited-liability firm, owners (dubbed members rather than shareholders) are not personally liable for debts of the firm, and its earnings are taxed only when, at the individual level (thereby eliminating double taxation).

We have touted the benefits of restricted licapacity protection for an LLC. We currently must point out some situations under which an LLC member (or a shareholder in a corporation) can be organized personally liable for the debts of his or her agency. A company owner deserve to be organized personally liable if he or she:

Personally guarantees a service debt or financial institution loan which the company stops working to pay.Fails to pay employment taxes to the federal government.Engeras in fraudulent or illegal habits that harms the company or someone else.Does not treat the firm as a sepaprice legal entity, for example, offers agency assets for personal provides.

Not-for-Profit Corporations

A not-for-profit corporation (sometimes dubbed a nonprofit) is an company developed to serve some public purpose rather than for financial acquire. As lengthy as the organization’s activity is for charitable, religious, educational, clinical, or literary purposes, it deserve to be exempt from paying income taxes. Furthermore, individuals and other institutions that add to the not-for-profit corporation deserve to take a tax deduction for those contributions. The forms of groups that generally use for nonprofit condition vary widely and also incorporate churches, synagogues, mosques, and also various other places of worship; museums; universities; and conservation teams.

Tbelow are more than 1.5 million not-for-profit institutions in the United States.7 Some are exceptionally well funded, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has actually an endowment of around $40 billion and has actually provided away $36.7 billion considering that its inception.8 Others are nationally recognized, such as United Way, Goodwill Industries, Habitat for Humanity, and the Red Cross. Yet the large majority is neither wealthy nor renowned, but neverthemuch less provides considerable contributions to society.

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Mergers and Acquisitions

The headline read, “Wanted: More than 2,000 in Google Hiring Spree.”9 The largest Web search engine in the human being was disclosing its plans to grow internally and increase its workpressure by more than 2,000 people, with fifty percent of the hires coming from the USA and also the various other fifty percent coming from other countries. The added employees will certainly help the firm expand into new industries and also fight for worldwide talent in the competitive Net indevelopment companies market. When appropriately executed, inner growth benefits the firm.

An different strategy to growth is to merge via or get one more company. The rationale behind growth through merger or acquisition is that 1 + 1 = 3: the linked agency is more useful than the sum of the 2 separate companies. This rationale is attrenergetic to service providers encountering competitive pressures. To grab a bigger share of the market and also enhance profitability, carriers will certainly desire to come to be more expense efficient by combining with other carriers.

Mergers and also Acquisitions

Though they are frequently supplied as if they’re associated, the terms merger and also acquisition expect slightly various things. A merger occurs once 2 suppliers integrate to form a new agency. An acquisition is the purchase of one firm by another. An example of a merger is the merging in 2013 of US Airmethods and also Amerihave the right to Airlines. The combined firm, the biggest carrier in the civilization, flies under the name Amerihave the right to Airlines.

Another instance of an acquisition is the purchase of Reebok by Adidas for $3.8 billion.10 The deal was expected to give Adidas a more powerful existence in The United States and Canada and assist the firm complete through rival Nike. Once this acquisition was completed, Reebok as a agency ceased to exist, though Adidas still sells shoes under the Reebok brand.

Motives behind Mergers and Acquisitions

Companies are urged to merge or get various other carriers for a number of reasons, consisting of the complying with.

Gain Complementary Products

Acquiring complementary products was the catalyst behind Adidas’s acquisition of Reebok. As Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer proclaimed in a conference contact, “This is a once-in- a-lifetime possibility. This is a perfect fit for both companies, because the service providers are so complementary…. Adidas is grounded in sporting activities performance with such assets as a motorized running shoe and endorsement encounters such superstars as British soccer player David Beckham. Meanwhile, Reebok plays greatly to the melding of sports and entertainment via endorsement deals and products by Nelly, Jay-Z, and 50 Cent. The combination could be deadly to Nike.” Of course, Nike has actually ongoing to grow, yet one can’t blame Hainer for his optimism.11

Attain New Markets or Distribution Channels

Gaining brand-new sectors was a significant element in the 2005 merger of US Airmethods and America West. US Airmeans was a significant player on the East Coast, the Caribbean, and Europe, while America West was strong in the West. The expectations were that combining the 2 carriers would certainly develop an airline that can reach more industries than either carrier can do on its very own.12

Realize Synergies

The purchase of Pharmacia Corporation (a Swedish pharmaceutical company) by Pfizer (a research-based pharmaceutical firm based in the United States) in 2003 developed one of the world’s biggest drug equipments and pharmaceutical providers, by revenue, in eextremely major market approximately the globe.13 The acquisition created an industry gigantic with even more than $48 billion in revenue and a research-and-breakthrough budget of even more than $7 billion. Each day, virtually forty million people approximately the world are treated through Pfizer medicines.14 Its subsequent $68 billion purchase of rival drug maker Wyeth better raised its presence in the pharmaceutical industry.15

In pursuing these acquisitions, Pfizer likely determined many type of synergies: quite simply, a totality that is better than the amount of its components. Tbelow are many examples of synergies. A merger frequently outcomes in a variety of redundant positions; the merged firm does not likely need two vice-poccupants of marketing, two chief financial police officers, and so on. Eliminating the redundant positions leads to considerable price savings that would certainly not be realized if the two providers did not merge. Let’s say each of the carriers was operating factories at 50% of capacity, and also by merging, one factory can be closed and also offered. That would also be an instance of a synergy. Companies lug various staminas and also weaknesses into the unified entity. If the newly-unified company deserve to take benefit of the marketing capabilities of the more powerful entity and also the circulation capabilities of the various other (assuming they are stronger), the new firm have the right to realize synergies in both of these attributes.

Hostile Takeover

What happens, though, if one firm wants to obtain another agency, yet that company doesn’t want to be acquired? The outcome might be a hostile takeover—an act of assuming manage that’s withstood by the targeted company’s administration and also its board of directors. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield uncovered themselves in one of these situations: Unilever—a really huge Dutch/British company that owns 3 ice cream brands—wanted to buy Ben & Jerry’s, versus the founders’ wishes. Many of the Ben & Jerry’s stockholders sided with Unilever before. They had bit confidence in the ability of Ben Cohen and also Jerry Greenfield to proceed regulating the company and also were frustrated via the firm’s social-mission emphasis. The stockholders liked Unilever’s market to buy their Ben & Jerry’s stock at nearly twice its present market price and wanted to take their earnings. In the finish, Unilever won; Ben & Jerry’s was obtained by Unilever in a hostile takeover.16 In spite of fears that the company’s social mission would certainly finish, it didn’t take place. Though neither Ben Cohen nor Jerry Greenfield are connected in the present administration of the company, they have actually went back to their social activism roots and also are greatly connected in plenty of social efforts sponsored by the agency.

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Chapter Video: Firm Structures 

Here is a short video giving a straightforward and also straightforward recap of the crucial points of each develop of company ownership.