William Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital, discusses the nuts and bolts of finance and investing in this lecture titled Everything You Need to Know About Finance and Investing…
So let’s begin. We’re going to go into business together. We’re going to start a company and we’re going to start a lemonade stand and now I don’t have any money today, so I’m going to have to raise money from investors to launch the business.
So how am I going to do that? Well I’m going to form a corporation. That is a little filing that you make with the State and you come up with a name for a business. We’ll call it Bill’s Lemonade Stand and we’re going to raise money from outside investors. We need a little money to get started, so we’re going to start our business with 1,000 shares of stock. We just made up that number and we’re going to sell 500 shares more for a $1 each to an investor. The investor is going to put up $500. We’re going to put up the name and the idea. We’re going to have 1,000 shares.
He is going to have 500 shares. He is going to own a third of the business for his $500? So what is our business worth at the start? Well it’s worth $1,500. We have $500 in the bank plus $1,000 because I came up with the idea for the company.
Now I’m going to need a little more than $500, so what am I going to do? I’m going to borrow some money. I’m going to borrow from a friend and he’s going to lend me $250 and we’re going to pay him 10% interest a year for that loan.
Now why do we borrow money instead of just selling more stock? Well by borrowing money we keep more of the stock for ourselves, so if the business is successful we’re going to end up with a bigger percentage of the profits. So now we’re going to take a look at what the business looks like on a piece of paper. We’re going to look at something called a balance sheet and a balance sheet tells you where the company stands, what your assets are, what your liabilities are and what your net worth or shareholder equity is.