Forms of privatisation
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. (June 2016)
There are five main methods
Share issue privatization: Shares sale on the
Asset sale privatization: Asset divestiture to a strategic investor, usually by
auction or through the
Voucher privatization: Distribution of vouchers, which represent part ownership of a corporation, to all citizens, usually for free or at a very low price.
Privatization from below: Start of new private businesses in formerly socialist countries.
Management buyout or
employee buyout: Distribution of shares for free or at a very low price to workers or management of the organization.
The choice of sale method is influenced by the
capital market and the political and firm-specific factors. Privatization through the stock market is more likely to be the method used when there is an established capital market capable of absorbing the shares. A market with high liquidity can facilitate the privatization. If the capital markets are insufficiently developed, however, it would be difficult to find enough buyers. The shares may have to be underpriced, and the sales may not raise as much capital as would be justified by the fair value of the company being privatized. Many governments, therefore, elect for listings in more sophisticated markets, for example,
Euronext, and the
New York and
Hong Kong stock exchanges.
developing countries and
transition countries more often resort to direct asset sales to a few investors, partly because those countries do not yet have a stock market with high capital.
Voucher privatization occurred mainly in the
transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe, such as
Czech Republic, and
Slovakia. Additionally, privatization from below had made important contribution to economic growth in transition economies.
In one study assimilating some of the literature on "privatization" that occurred in Russian and Czech Republic transition economies, the authors identified three methods of privatization: "privatization by sale", "mass privatization", and "mixed privatization". Their calculations showed that "mass privatization" was the most effective method.
However, in economies "characterized by shortages" and maintained by the state bureaucracy, wealth was accumulated and concentrated by "gray/black market" operators. Privatizing industries by sale to these individuals did not mean a transition to "effective private sector owners [of former] state assets". Rather than mainly participating in a market economy, these individuals could prefer elevating their personal status or prefer accumulating political power. Instead, outside foreign investment led to the efficient conduct of former state assets in the private sector and market economy.
Through privatization by direct asset sale or the stock market, bidders compete to offer higher prices, generating more revenue for the state. Voucher privatization, on the other hand, could represent a genuine transfer of assets to the general population, creating a sense of participation and inclusion. A market could be created if the government permits transfer of vouchers among voucher holders.
Some privatization transactions can be interpreted as a form of a
 and are criticized as a "particularly noxious form of governmental debt".
 In this interpretation, the upfront payment from the privatization sale corresponds to the
principal amount of the loan, while the proceeds from the underlying asset correspond to secured interest payments – the transaction can be considered substantively the same as a secured loan, though it is structured as a sale.
 This interpretation is particularly argued to apply to recent municipal transactions in the United States, particularly for fixed term, such as the 2008 sale of the proceeds from Chicago parking meters for 75 years. It is argued that this is motivated by "politicians' desires to borrow money surreptitiously",
 due to legal restrictions on and political resistance to alternative sources of revenue, viz, raising taxes or issuing debt.