capital structure

noun
Updated on: 13 Oct 2017

Definition of capital structure

:the makeup of the capitalization of a business in terms of the amounts and kinds of equity and debt securities :the equity and debt securities of a business together with its surplus and reserves

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Financial Definition of CAPITAL STRUCTURE

capital structure

What It Is

Capital structure refers to the blend of debt and equity a company uses to fund and finance its operations.

How It Works

If Company XYZ has completed an initial public offering and a bond offering, we could therefore say that Company XYZ's capital structure includes debt and equity. Bank loans, preferred stock, retained earnings and working capital might also be part of the company's capital structure.

In many cases, discussions of capital structure include references to debt-to-equity ratios, which are one of several ratios that measure the relative weight of different types of capital.

Why It Matters

Different types of capital impose different types of risks on a company. For this reason, capital structure affects the value of a company, and therefore much analysis goes into determining what a company's optimal capital structure is. The Modigliani and Miller propositions (created by financial theorists Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller) address this question.


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