Corporate Finance

Corporate Finance is the area of finance that deals with the financial decisions corporations make and the tools and analysis used to make these decisions. The primary goal of corporate finance is to maximize shareholder value through planning and implementing various financial strategies. Corporate finance activities range from capital investment decisions to investment banking, encompassing various financial aspects like mergers and acquisitions, capital structure, and risk management.


The modern field of corporate finance has its roots in the 20th century, although elements can be traced back to much earlier periods. With the advent of complex financial markets and instruments, corporations have had to adapt their financial practices. The development of new theories like the Modigliani-Miller theorem and the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) in the mid-20th century provided the academic foundation for modern corporate finance.

Key Concepts

  • Capital Budgeting: Capital budgeting is the process of deciding which long-term investments or projects will yield the most significant return over an extended period. Techniques such as Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), and Payback Period are commonly used in capital budgeting decisions.
  • Capital Structure: Capital structure is the mix of various forms of capital that a company uses to finance its operations and projects. This usually includes a mixture of debt and equity. The optimal capital structure minimizes the cost of capital to the company.
  • Working Capital Management: Working capital management involves managing the company's short-term assets and liabilities to ensure that it has sufficient cash flow to maintain its operations. This includes management of inventory, accounts receivable and payable, and cash.
  • Financial Instruments: Corporations use various financial instruments like stocks, bonds, and derivatives to raise capital, manage risk, and achieve other financial objectives.
  • Valuation: Valuation involves determining the current worth of an asset or a company. There are several methods used for valuation including discounted cash flow (DCF), comparable company analysis (CCA), and market valuation among others.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is an aspect of corporate strategy dealing with the buying, selling, and combining of different companies to aid, finance, or help a growing company in a given industry grow rapidly.
  • Corporate Governance: Corporate governance refers to the system by which companies are directed and controlled. It encompasses practices and policies for balancing the interests of a company's many stakeholders, such as shareholders, management, customers, suppliers, financiers, government, and the community.
  • Regulation and Compliance: Regulations are imposed by governmental bodies to ensure that companies are conducting business in a lawful and ethical manner. These regulations can significantly affect corporate financial decisions.

Related Disciplines

  • Investment Banking
  • Financial Management
  • Accounting

See Also