Cost of Preferred Stock Equity Financing in Startups

Preferred stock is a type of equity capital used to finance a business. The cost of preferred stock arises from the dividends the business pays in return for the funding.

Preferred stock has no maturity date or right to vote but gives stockholders preferences over common stockholders such as the right to a fixed dividend and repayment in the event of liquidation of the business.

Issue Price of Preferred Stock Equity

Preferred stock can be issued at par, a premium or at a discount depending on market conditions at the time.

Since the stock has additional rights and therefore less risk than common stock equity the cost of preferred stock tends to be between the cost of common equity and the cost of debt finance.

Preferred stock has no maturity date and the fixed dividend can be viewed as an infinite series of payments (a perpetuity). The value of this perpetuity and therefore the price of a preferred stock is given by the following perpetuity formula.

Share price = Dividend / Rate of return for preferred equity investors

So for example if a business issues 8.1% preferred equity with a par value of 100 and the market rate of return is 7.2% then the share price of the preferred stock is calculated as follows.

Dividend rate = 8.1%
Par value = 100
Rate of return = 7.2%
Share price = Dividend / Rate of return
Share price = (Dividend rate x Par value) / Rate of return
Share price = 8.1% x 100 / 7.2% = 112.50

Given the dividend rate and the share price paid by the investor, the above formula can be rearranged to calculate the rate of return to the investor at any point in time.

Rate of return = (Dividend rate x Par value) / Share price

Cost of Preferred Stock

At the specific point when the preferred stock is issued the return to the investor is calculated as follows.

Rate of return = (Dividend rate x Par value) / Share price at issue

Since the business receives the investment (share price at issue) in return for the dividends it has to pay, the cost of preferred stock to the business is the same as the rate of return to an investor who buys the new issue.

Cost of preferred stock = (Dividend rate x Par value) / Share price at issue

Cost of Preferred Stock Example

Suppose a business issues 5.8% preferred stock with a par value of 100 at a discounted price of 92.50 then the rate of return to the investor and the cost of preferred stock to the business is calculated as follows.

Dividend rate = 5.8%
Par value = 100
Share price at issue = 92.50
Cost of preferred stock = (Dividend rate x Par value) / Share price at issue
Cost of preferred stock = (5.8% x 100) / 92.50
Cost of preferred stock = 6.27%

Unlike interest payments on debt finance the dividend payments on preferred stock are not deductible as an expense and therefore the tax rate has no impact on the cost of preferred stock.

New Issue Costs

In the above example it was assumed that the investment cash received when issuing the preferred stock was the share price. However for new issues the business will have costs to pay, usually expressed as a percentage of the share price, and the net investment received will be reduced. In these circumstances the cost of preferred stock is calculated using the following revised formula.

Cost of preferred stock = (Dividend rate x Par value) / Share price x (1 – Issue costs %)

If in the above example the issue costs were 5% then the cost of preferred equity is calculated as follows.

Dividend rate = 5.8%
Par value = 100
Issue costs = 5%
Share price = 92.50
Cost of preferred stock = (Dividend rate x Par value) / (Share price x (1 - Issue costs %))
Cost of preferred stock = (5.8% x 100) / (92.50 x (1 - 5%))
Cost of preferred stock = 6.60%

The cost of preferred stock increases from 6.60% to 6.27% as a result of the issue costs.

Cost of Preferred Stock Finance and WACC

Preferred stock equity financing is only one method of funding available to a business, the others being common stock equity and debt finance. Most businesses use both equity and debt, and the proportion of each used results in a weighted average cost of capital (WACC) for the business. The cost of preferred stock financing is one component of the WACC calculation.

WACC = Cost of preferred stock x % Preferred stock + Cost of common stock x % Common stock + Cost of debt x (1- Tax rate) x % Debt

WACC Formula Example

Suppose a business is 35% funded by preferred stock equity, 40% funded by common stock equity and 25% funded by debt, and the cost of preferred stock is 8%, cost of common stock equity is 15%, the cost of debt is 6%, and the tax rate is 30%.

The WACC formula can be used to give the weighted average cost of capital as follows:

WACC = Cost of preferred stock x % Preferred stock + Cost of common stock x % Common stock + Cost of debt x (1- % Tax rate) x % Debt
WACC = 8% x 35% + 15% x 40% + 6% x (1-30%) x 25%
WACC = 9.85%

The WACC formula incorporating the cost of preferred stock shows that the weighted average cost of capital for the business is 9.85%.

Cost of Preferred Stock Equity Financing in Startups October 12th, 2017Team

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