Learning Objectives

Identify the inquiries to ask in picking the proper form of ownership for a service.Describe the sole proprietorship and also partnership forms of organization, and also specify the advantages and also disadvantages.Identify the various types of partnerships, and explain the prominence of a partnership agreement.Exordinary just how corporations are created and how they operate.Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the corpoprice develop of ownership.Examine unique kinds of business ownership, consisting of limited-liability carriers, and also not-for-profit corporations.Define mergers and also acquisitions, and also define why carriers are urged to merge or acquire various other suppliers.

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The Ice Cream Men

Who would certainly have actually believed it? Two ex-hippies through solid interests in social activism would certainly finish up beginning one of the best-well-known ice cream service providers in the country—Ben & Jerry’s. Perhaps it was meant to be. Ben Cohen (the “Ben” of Ben & Jerry’s) constantly had a fascination via ice cream. As a kid, he made his own mixtures by wrecking his favorite cookies and also candies into his ice cream. But it wasn’t till his senior year in high college that he became an official “ice cream man,” happily driving his truck with communities filled through children eager to buy his ice cream pops. After high institution, Ben tried college yet it wasn’t for him. He attended Colgate University for a year and also a half before he dropped out to go back to his genuine love: being an ice cream man. He tried college again—this time at Skidmore, wright here he studied pottery and also jewelry making—but, in spite of his selection of courses, still didn’t like it.

Figure 6.1: Ben Cohen and also Jerry Greenfield in 2010

In the meantime, Jerry Greenarea (the “Jerry” of Ben & Jerry’s) was adhering to a similar route. He majored in pre-med at Oberlin College in the wishes of sooner or later coming to be a physician. But he had to give up on this goal as soon as he was not embraced into medical school. On a positive note, though, his college education steered him into a more lucrative field: the human being of ice cream making. He gained his first peek at the ice cream market when he functioned as a scooper in the student cafeteria at Oberlin. So, fourteen years after they first met on the junior high school track team, Ben and Jerry reunited and chose to go into ice cream making massive time. They relocated to Burlington, Vermont—a college tvery own in need 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, provided that the tests were open book—they took the plunge: through their life savings of $8,000 and also $4,000 of borrowed funds they erected an ice cream shop in a made-over gas terminal on a busy street edge in Burlington.1 The next massive decision was which develop of service ownership was finest for them. This chapter introduces you to their alternatives.

Factors to Consider

If you’re starting a new company, you have to decide which legal form of ownership is best for you and also your business. Do you want to very own the service yourself and run as a single proprietorship? Or, execute you desire to share ownership, operating as a partnership or a corporation? Before we comment on the pros and also cons of these 3 kinds of ownership, let’s resolve some of the concerns that you’d probably ask yourself in choosing the proper legal create for your organization.

In setting up your business, carry out you desire to minimize the prices of getting started? Do you hope to prevent complex federal government regulations and also reporting requirements?How much manage would certainly you like? How much responsibility for running the service are you willing to share? What about sharing the profits?Do you desire to prevent unique taxes?Do you have actually all the skills required to run the business?Are you likely to gain in addition to your co-owners over an extensive duration of time?Is it necessary to you that the business endure you?What are your financing requirements and also exactly how perform you setup to finance your company?How much individual exposure to licapacity are you willing to accept? Do you feel unbasic around accepting individual liability for the actions of fellow owners?

No single create of ownership will certainly offer you whatever you desire. You’ll need to make some trade-offs. Due to the fact that each option has both advantages and disbenefits, your task is to decide which one offers the functions that are most important to you. In the adhering to sections we’ll compare 3 ownership options (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) on these eight dimensions.

Sole Proprietorship and its Advantages

In a sole proprietorship, as the owner, you have complete regulate over your business. You make all essential decisions and are mostly responsible for all day-to-day activities. In exadjust for assuming all this responsibility, you acquire all the revenue earned by the business. Profits earned are taxed as individual income, so you don’t have to pay any kind of one-of-a-kind federal and state income taxes.

Disbenefits of Sole Proprietorships

For many kind of human being, but, the sole proprietorship is not suitable. The flip side of enjoying finish manage is having actually to supply all the various talents that may be necessary to make the organization a success. And once you’re gone, the service dissolves. You likewise need to depend on your very own resources for financing: in effect, you are the business and also any kind of money obtained by the business is loaned to you personally. Even even more important, the sole proprietor bears infinite liability for any losses incurred by the business. The principle of infinite individual licapability means that if the organization incurs a debt or suffers a catastrophe (say, gaining sued for resulting in an injury to someone), the owner is personally liable. As a single proprietor, you put your individual assets (your bank account, your automobile, probably also your home) at risk for the sake of your organization. You deserve to lessen your danger via insurance, yet your licapability exposure have the right to still be extensive. Given that Ben and Jerry decided to begin their ice cream organization together (and also therefore the service was not owned by only one person), they might not collection their agency up as a single proprietorship.


A partnership (or basic partnership) is a organization owned jointly by two or more world. About 10 percent of UNITED STATE businesses are partnerships2 and also though the large majority are tiny, some are quite big. For example, the significant four public bookkeeping firms are partnerships. Setting up a partnership is even more complicated than establishing up a sole proprietorship, yet it’s still relatively straightforward and inexpensive. The expense varies according to size and also complexity. It’s feasible to form a straightforward partnership without the help of a lawyer or an accountant, though it’s generally a good concept to gain skilled advice.

Professionals deserve to help you recognize and settle concerns that may later create disputes among partners.

The Partnership Agreement

The impact of problems deserve to be minimized if the partners have actually executed a well-planned partnership agreement that specifies everyone’s civil liberties and obligations. The agreement might administer such details as the following:

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

Limitless Licapacity and also the Partnership

A major difficulty with partnerships, as through single proprietorships, is boundless liability: in this case, each companion is personally liable not just for his or her own actions yet also for the actions of all the partners. If your companion in an architectural firm renders a mistake that causes a framework to collapse, the loss your service incurs impacts you simply as much as it would certainly him or her. And here’s the really bad news: if the organization 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 because of the error can sue you for your individual assets. Many civilization are understandably reluctant to enter into partnerships bereason of boundless licapability. Certain creates of businesses allow owners to limit their licapability. These include restricted partnerships and corporations.

Limited Partnerships

The legislation permits company owners to form a limited partnership which has actually 2 forms of partners: a solitary general companion that runs the business and also is responsible for its liabilities, and also any kind of number of restricted partners who have actually limited involvement in the service and whose losses are limited to the amount of their investment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Partnerships

The partnership has actually several benefits over the single proprietorship. First, it brings together a varied group of talented people who share duty for running the business. 2nd, it makes financing easier: the organization deserve to attract on the financial sources of a number of people. The partners not only contribute funds to the service however have the right to additionally use individual resources to secure financial institution loans. Finally, continuity needn’t be an problem because partners deserve to agree legally to permit the partnership to endure if one or even more partners die.

Still, tright here are some negatives. First, as discussed previously, partners are subject to infinite licapability. 2nd, being a companion implies that you have to share decision making, and many type of human being aren’t comfortable through that situation. Not surprisingly, partners often have distinctions of opinion on exactly how to run a company, and arguments deserve to escalate to the allude of jeopardizing the continuance of the business. Third, in enhancement to sharing ideas, partners likewise share earnings. This setup have the right to work-related as long as all partners feel that they’re being rewarded according to their efforts and accomplishments, however that isn’t constantly the instance. While the partnership create of ownership is viewed negatively by some, it was especially appealing to Ben Cohen and also Jerry Greenfield. Starting their ice cream service as a partnership was inexpensive and let them incorporate their restricted financial resources and use their diverse abilities and talents. As friends they trusted each other and also invited mutual decision making and profit sharing. They were also not reluctant to be held personally liable for each other’s actions.


A corporation (periodically called a constant or C-corporation) differs from a sole proprietorship and a partnership because it’s a legal entity that is totally sepaprice from the parties that very own it. It can enter into binding contracts, buy and offer residential property, sue and also be sued, be hosted responsible for its actions, and be taxed. Once businesses reach any comprehensive size, it is beneficial to organize as a corporation so that its owners have the right to limit their licapacity. Corporations, then, tfinish to be far larger, on average, than businesses utilizing other develops of ownership. As Figure 6.2 shows, corporations account for 18 percent of all UNITED STATE businesses yet geneprice nearly 82 percent of the revenues.3 Most big well-known businesses are corporations, however so are many kind of of the smaller sized firms via which likely you execute organization.

Figure 6.2: Types of U.S. Businesses

Ownership and also Stock

Corporations are owned by shareholders that invest money in the company by buying shares of stock. The percent of the corporation they very own counts on the portion of stock they hold. For instance, if a corporation has issued 100 shares of stock, and you very own 30 shares, you own 30 percent of the agency. The shareholders elect a board of directors, a group of civilization (mostly from exterior the corporation) who are legally responsible for governing the corporation. The board oversees the significant plans and also decisions made by the corporation, sets objectives and holds monitoring accountable for achieving them, and hires and also evaluates the optimal executive, mainly referred to as the CEO (chief executive officer). The board additionally approves the distribution of ininvolved shareholders in the create of cash payments referred to as dividends.

Benefits of Incorporation

The corporate form of organization supplies several benefits, including limited licapacity for shareholders, better access to financial sources, specialized monitoring, and also continuity.

Limited Liability

The a lot of crucial benefit of incorporation is the limited liability to which shareholders are exposed: they are not responsible for the obligations of the corporation, and they deserve to lose no even more than the amount that they have personally invested in the company. Limited licapability would have been a huge plus for the unfortunate individual whose business partner burned dvery own their dry cleaning facility. Had they been included, the corporation would certainly have actually been liable for the debts incurred by the fire. If the corporation didn’t have enough money to pay the debt, the individual shareholders would not have actually been obligated to pay anypoint. They would certainly have actually shed all the money that they’d invested in the organization, yet no even more.

Financial Resources

Incorporation additionally makes it possible for businesses to raise funds by offering stock. This is a big advantage as a agency grows and requirements more funds to operate and compete. Depfinishing on its dimension and financial strength, the corporation likewise has an advantage over other creates of service in getting bank loans. An establiburned corporation deserve to borrow its very own funds, but when a tiny business needs a loan, the bank typically needs that it be guaranteed by its owners.

Specialized Management

Due to the fact that of their size and also capability to pay high sales comobjectives and also benefits, corporations are mostly able to entice even more experienced and also talented employees than are proprietorships and partnerships.

Continuity and Transferability

Anvarious other benefit of incorporation is continuity. Since the corporation has actually a legal life separate from the stays of its owners, it can (at least in theory) exist forever before.

Transferring ownership of a corporation is easy: shareholders sindicate offer their stock to others. Some founders, yet, desire to restrict the transfercapacity of their stock and also so select to operate as a privately-organized corporation. The stock in these corporations is organized by just a few individuals, who are not allowed to market it to the general public.

Companies through no such constraints on stock sales are called public corporations; stock is available for sale to the general public.

Drawbacks to Incorporation

Like sole proprietorships and also partnerships, corporations have actually both positive and negative elements. In single proprietorships and partnerships, for circumstances, the individuals that very own and also control a organization are the very same world. Corporate managers, however, don’t necessarily very own stock, and also shareholders don’t necessarily job-related for the firm. This situation can be troublesome if the purposes of the 2 groups differ considerably.

Managers, for instance, are often even more interested in career advance than the as a whole profitcapability of the company. Stockholders could treatment more around earnings without regard for the health of employees. This case is known as the firm problem, a problem of interest natural in a relationship in which one party is supposed to act in the best interemainder of the various other. It is frequently fairly hard to prevent self-interest from entering into these cases.

Anvarious other drawago to incorporation—one that regularly discourperiods little businesses from incorporating—is the reality that corporations are more costly to put up. When you integrate filing and also licensing fees with audit and also attorney fees, incorporating a organization might set you ago by $1,000 to $6,000 or more depending on the size and scope of your business.4 Furthermore, corporations are topic to levels of regulation and governmental oversight that have the right to location a burden on little businesses. Finally, corporations are topic to what’s primarily referred to as “double taxation.” Corporations are taxed by the federal and also state governments on their earnings. When these income are distributed as dividends, the shareholders pay taxes on these dividends. Corpoprice revenues are thus taxed twice—the corporation pays the taxes the initially time and the shareholders pay the taxes the second time.

Five years after starting their ice cream service, Ben Cohen and also Jerry Greenarea evaluated the pros and also cons of the corpoprice create of ownership, and also the “pros” won. The major motivator was the have to raise funds to construct a $2 million production facility. Not just did Ben and also Jerry decide to switch from a partnership to a corporation, but they additionally chose to market shares of stock to the public (and also thus end up being a public corporation). Their sale of stock to the public was a little bit unusual: Ben and also Jerry wanted the area to own the agency, so rather of offering the stock to anyone interested in buying a share, they available stock to inhabitants of Vermont just. Ben thought that “company has a obligation to give ago to the area from which it draws its assistance.”5 He wanted the agency to be owned by those that lined up in the gas terminal to buy cones. The stock was so popular that one in eexceptionally hundred Vermont families bought stock in the agency.6 At some point, as the firm continued to expand, the stock was marketed on a national level.

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Other Types of Business Ownership

In enhancement to the 3 frequently embraced creates of business organization—single proprietorship, partnership, and also continual corporations—some organization owners choose other develops of company to accomplish their particular demands. We’ll look at two of these options:

Limited-licapability companiesNot-for-profit corporations

Limited-Licapability Companies

How would certainly you favor a legal develop of company that provides the attractive features of the three widespread creates of company (corporation, sole proprietorship and partnership) and also avoids the unattrenergetic functions of these 3 company forms? The limited-licapacity company (LLC) accomplishes exactly that. This develop offers company owners through restricted licapability (a vital benefit of corporations) and also no “double taxation” (a vital benefit of single proprietorships and partnerships). Let’s look at the LLC in even more information.

In 1977, Wyoming ended up being the initially state to enable businesses to run as limited-licapability suppliers. Twenty years later on, in 1997, Hawaii became the last state to give its approval to the brand-new organization develop. Because then, the limited-liability agency has actually enhanced in popularity. Its quick growth was sustained in part by alters in state statutes that permit a limited-liability agency to have actually simply one member. The trend to LLCs deserve to be observed by analysis agency names on the side of trucks or on storefronts in your city. It is common to check out names such as Jim Evans Tree Care, LLC, and also For-Cats-Only Veterinary Clinic, LLC. But LLCs are not restricted to little businesses. Companies such as Crayola, Domino’s Pizza, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company type of, and also iSold It (which helps human being sell their undesirable belongings on eBay) are operating under the limited-licapability create of company.

In a limited-licapacity company, owners (called members fairly than shareholders) are not personally liable for debts of the agency, and also its earnings are taxed just once, at the individual level (thereby eliminating double taxation).

We have touted the benefits of limited licapability protection for an LLC. We now should allude out some situations under which an LLC member (or a shareholder in a corporation) can be held personally liable for the debts of his or her firm. A organization owner can be organized personally liable if he or she:

Personally assures a organization debt or financial institution loan which the agency falls short to pay.Fails to pay employment taxes to the federal government.Engeras in fraudulent or illegal habits that harms the firm or someone else.Does not treat the company as a separate legal entity, for instance, offers firm assets for personal supplies.

Not-for-Profit Corporations

A not-for-profit corporation (sometimes called a nonprofit) is an organization developed to serve some public function fairly than for financial obtain. As lengthy as the organization’s activity is for charitable, religious, educational, scientific, or literary purposes, it deserve to be exempt from paying earnings taxes. Additionally, people and also other institutions that add to the not-for-profit corporation can take a taxation deduction for those contributions. The types of teams that usually use for nonprofit status vary extensively and also encompass churches, synagogues, mosques, and other locations of worship; museums; universities; and conservation teams.

Tbelow are even more than 1.5 million not-for-profit establishments in the USA.7 Some are very well funded, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has an endowment of around $40 billion and has actually given amethod $36.7 billion given that its inception.8 Others are nationally recognized, such as United Way, Goodwill Industries, Habitat for Humanity, and the Red Cross. Yet the huge majority is neither well-off nor renowned, however nevertheless renders substantial contributions to culture.

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Mergers and also Acquisitions

The headline read, “Wanted: More than 2,000 in Google Hiring Spree.”9 The largest Net search engine in the world was disclosing its plans to flourish internally and also boost its workforce by more than 2,000 people, via fifty percent of the hires coming from the United States and the other half coming from other countries. The included employees will assist the firm expand into new industries and fight for international talent in the competitive Internet indevelopment carriers market. When correctly executed, internal expansion benefits the firm.

An alternative approach to growth is to merge with or gain another firm. The rationale behind expansion via merger or acquisition is that 1 + 1 = 3: the merged agency is more helpful than the amount of the two separate suppliers. This rationale is attractive to carriers dealing with competitive pressures. To grab a bigger share of the sector and also boost profitability, carriers will certainly desire to become more expense effective by combining via other providers.

Mergers and also Acquisitions

Though they are often provided as if they’re identified, the terms merger and also acquisition mean slightly different points. A merger occurs when 2 service providers incorporate to form a brand-new agency. An acquisition is the purchase of one agency by another. An example of a merger is the merging in 2013 of US Airways and also Amerihave the right to Airlines. The unified firm, the biggest carrier in the civilization, flies under the name Amerideserve to Airlines.

Anvarious other example of an acquisition is the purchase of Reebok by Adidas for $3.8 billion.10 The deal was intended to give Adidas a stronger presence in The United States and Canada and also help the agency compete through rival Nike. Once this acquisition was completed, Reebok as a company ceased to exist, though Adidas still sells shoes under the Reebok brand also.

Motives behind Mergers and also Acquisitions

Companies are urged to merge or gain various other providers for a number of reasons, including the following.

Gain Complementary Products

Acquiring complementary products was the motivation behind Adidas’s acquisition of Reebok. As Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer declared in a conference call, “This is a once-in- a-lifetime chance. This is a perfect fit for both carriers, because the carriers are so complementary…. Adidas is grounded in sports performance through such products as a motorized running shoe and endorsement faces such superstars as British soccer player David Beckham. Meanwhile, Reebok plays heavily to the melding of sports and entertainment through endorsement deals and commodities by Nelly, Jay-Z, and also 50 Cent. The combination can be deadly to Nike.” Of course, Nike has actually ongoing to grow, but one can’t blame Hainer for his optimism.11

Attain New Markets or Distribution Channels

Gaining brand-new industries was a significant variable in the 2005 merger of US Airways and America West. US Airways was a significant player on the East Coast, the Caribbean, and also Europe, while America West was strong in the West. The expectations were that combining the two carriers would certainly develop an airline that could reach more industries than either carrier might execute on its own.12

Realize Synergies

The purchase of Pharmacia Corporation (a Swedish pharmaceutical company) by Pfizer (a research-based pharmaceutical agency based in the United States) in 2003 developed among the world’s largest drug machines and pharmaceutical providers, by revenue, in eextremely major industry roughly the globe.13 The acquisition created an sector giant through more than $48 billion in revenue and a research-and-advancement budgain of even more than $7 billion. Each day, virtually forty million world about the globe are treated through Pfizer medicines.14 Its succeeding $68 billion purchase of rival drug maker Wyeth better enhanced its presence in the pharmaceutical industry.15

In pursuing these acquisitions, Pfizer most likely identified many synergies: quite sindicate, a totality that is higher than the sum of its components. There are many kind of examples of synergies. A merger typically outcomes in a number of redundant positions; the unified agency does not likely require two vice-pcitizens of marketing, 2 chief financial police officers, and so on. Eliminating the redundant positions leads to substantial price savings that would not be realized if the 2 suppliers did not merge. Let’s say each of the carriers was operating factories at 50% of capacity, and by merging, one manufacturing facility might be closed and marketed. That would certainly also be an example of a synergy. Companies bring different strengths and weaknesses into the linked entity. If the newly-linked firm can take benefit of the marketing capabilities of the more powerful entity and also the distribution capabilities of the other (assuming they are stronger), the new agency can realize synergies in both of these attributes.

Hostile Takeover

What happens, though, if one company wants to get another agency, but that agency doesn’t desire to be acquired? The outcome might be a hostile takeover—an act of assuming control that’s withstood by the targeted company’s administration and its board of directors. Ben Cohen and also Jerry Greenarea discovered themselves in among these situations: Unilever—an extremely large Dutch/British agency that owns three ice cream brands—wanted to buy Ben & Jerry’s, against the founders’ wishes. Most of the Ben & Jerry’s stockholders sided through Unilever. They had actually bit confidence in the ability of Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenarea to proceed regulating the company and also were frustrated via the firm’s social-mission emphasis. The stockholders favored Unilever’s market to buy their Ben & Jerry’s stock at nearly twice its current market price and wanted to take their revenues. In the finish, Unilever won; Ben & Jerry’s was obtained by Unilever in a hostile takeover.16 Despite fears that the company’s social mission would finish, it didn’t happen. Though neither Ben Cohen nor Jerry Greenfield are involved in the current management of the agency, they have returned to their social activism roots and also are greatly affiliated in numerous social campaigns funded by the firm.

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Chapter Video: Company Structures 

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