2005 Course V - Corporate Finance and Valuation
Univ.Prof. Dr. Christian Laux
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
09/14/21 to 10/05/21
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Tuesday 10/12/21 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D2.0.342 Teacher Training Raum
Thursday 10/14/21 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D2.0.342 Teacher Training Raum
Tuesday 10/19/21 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D2.0.342 Teacher Training Raum
Thursday 10/28/21 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D2.0.382
Thursday 11/04/21 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM EA.5.044
Tuesday 11/09/21 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D2.0.326
Tuesday 11/16/21 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D2.0.326
Thursday 11/18/21 08:00 AM - 10:00 AM TC.4.03

This course examines important issues in corporate finance from the perspective of financial managers.

We build on topics covered in Courses I to III and cover selected chapters from the book “Corporate Finance” by Berk and DeMarzo (see below).

An important part of the course is to apply and develop a deeper understanding of what you learned in these courses by means of (a) a case study and (b) reading recent academic papers (e.g., on the Covid 19 pandemic crisis and corporate finance).

Topics that you learn to apply include

  • Fundamentals of Capital Budgeting (Chapter  8) and Valuing Stocks (Chapter  9)
  • Cost of Capital (Chapter 12)
  • Capital Structure in a Perfect Market (Modigliani-Miller) (Chapter 14)
  • Debt and Taxes (Chapter 15)
  • Financial Distress, Incentives, and Information Problems (Chapter 16)
  • Capital Budgeting and Valuation with Leverage (Chapter 18)

All chapters refer to Berk/DeMarzo, Corporate Finance (3rd – 5th Global Edition, which you can all use).

Learning outcomes
  1. Understand how financial decisions affect the value of a firm and identify key drivers of a firm’s financing decision.
    1. The choice between debt and equity (and how the Modigliani-Miller irrelevance theorem helps):
      1. Why can it be optimal to finance projects such as the Eurotunnel with high levels of debt?
      2. Why do pharmaceutical companies often have negative debt (i.e., more cash than debt)?
      3. Why do banks have an incentive to take on high levels of debt and high risk absent regulation?
    2. Structured financial instruments: When can it be optimal to use structured financing such as, for example, convertible debt?
      1. Mandatory convertible debt played an important role in the financing of the $63-billion takeover of Monsanto by Bayer in 2018.
      2. Contingent convertible debt CoCos is important in the regulation of banks.
  2. Understand key ingredients used in the discounted cash flow approach to value investment projects or firms.
    1. How can you use information from the income statement and balance sheet of a firm to calculate the expected cash flow underlying the discounted cash flow method?
    2. How can you use available market information to derive a firm’s cost of capital (i.e., cost of equity and weighted average cost of capital)?
  3. Understand key drivers of a project's cost of capital.
Attendance requirements

Attendence is mandatory. If possible, the course will take place on campus, if this is not possible it will be online.

Teaching/learning method(s)

This is an applied course. Real word problems are complex and the “solution” in many cases not just right or wrong. Students have to be willing to actively participate in their groups, be interested in tackling challenging questions, and be comfortable with a learning approach that goes beyong “solving a set of exercises to prepare for an exam.”

The course builds on material covered in Courses I to III and selected chapters from Corporate Finance by Berk and DeMarzo. We will wrap up some of the concepts in class and I guide you through the key points. You have to be prepared and read the relevant chapters before class.

We discuss exercises that help you to understand and deepen the key concepts in class. You have to be able to explain the solution to other students or explain what you did not understand. I will call not only voluntary participants, but I may ask you to come to the board, and I may do in class quizzes to test how well you prepared the exercises.

An important part of the course is to apply your knowledge in Finance to (a) a case study and (b) reading an academic papers (open question). You have to form groups in which you do the case study and open question (more in class). Each individual of the group has to be prepared to present the findings in class.

Class participation is mandatory and important. I may call on individuals to lead a discussion or otherwise participate in the discussion.

Course requirements  

Case study (group assignment)


Open question (group assignment)


Class participation (Bonus Points)








For specific information on the individual requirements see below.

Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

You must have mastered the content of Courses I to III and be interested in deepening some of the concepts you learned in these courses.

Recommended previous knowledge and skills

You must have mastered the content of Courses I to III and be interested in deepening some of the concepts you learned in these courses.

Availability of lecturer(s)



Final: 60 - 90 minutes: individual exercise, closed book, you may only use a non-programmable calculator (no smartphone)! The exam will include problem-oriented quantitative questions, and theoretical questions to ensure understanding of the concepts discussed in class. The questions are conceptually similar to those we discuss in class.

Exercises: I will give you several short quizzes and questions during class on the application of what you learned. Some of these quizzes and questions are graded.

Case study: Group exercise on capital structure and valuation: I will give you specific questions throughout the course, which you have to address working together with your group. Requirement: short answers to the questions; you have to be prepared to present and explain your answers “in class.” You must not discuss the questions with other groups before we discuss them in class!

Open question: I will give you a specific topic/research paper during class, for example related to the Covid 19 pandemic crisis and corporate finance. Together with your group, you have to prepare a presenation on this topic/paper.

A note on group assignments: I will assign participants to groups. Each group consists of 3–5 members, depending on the number of people enrolled in class. (If you have group members that you would like to work with, you can send me an Email. However, there is no guarantee that I can accommodate the wishes.) When grading group exercises, I may take into account individual contributions, e.g., in the discussion of the group assignments in class. Thus, points can potentially differ for different group members.

You can earn up to 3 bonus points for participation that contributes to the overall learning experience of all participants.

Last edited: 2021-08-12