Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2001 (Revised March 2002)

Ford Motor Company's Value Enhancement Plan

by Andre F. Perold

Abstract

In April 2000, Ford Motor Co. announced a shareholder Value Enhancement Plan (VEP) to significantly recapitalize the firm's ownership structure. Ford had accumulated $23 billion in cash reserves and under the VEP would return as much as $10 billion of this cash to shareholders. In exchange for each share currently held, the plan would give stockholders one new share plus the choice of receiving $20 in either cash or additional new Ford common shares. Shareholders electing to receive cash would be taxed on these distributions at capital gain rates. Among other things, the plan provided a means for the Ford family to obtain liquidity without having to dilute their 40% voting interest (even though they own only 5% of the shares outstanding). Students must wrestle with the following questions: Why was Ford proposing this transaction instead of a traditional share repurchase or a cash dividend? How did the interests of the Ford family factor into this decision, and what did the transaction imply about the future involvement of the family in the company? Why was Ford distributing such a significant amount of cash at this particular point in time? Did the distribution signal a change in the company's appetite for making acquisitions or future capital expenditures? If shareholders collectively elected to receive less than $10 billion in cash, how would Ford distribute the remaining cash?

Keywords: Restructuring; Forecasting and Prediction; Capital Structure; Cash; Financial Liquidity; Policy; Business and Shareholder Relations; Value; Auto Industry;

Citation:

Perold, Andre F. "Ford Motor Company's Value Enhancement Plan." Harvard Business School Case 201-079, January 2001. (Revised March 2002.)