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Subject: 3 More questions about mergers. rss

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Joseph Betz
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1.From the rules..."The controller may suggest a merger between the company and one other company.Companies may only merge if they are connected."
Does this mean if blue is connected to both yellow and green he can only propose a merger to one of those companies?If blue proposes a merger with yellow and it fails can he still try to propose a merger with green or is it only one chance per turn?

2.From the rules..."If both companies pass the merger suggestion then the merging company must buy each available share of the target company at it's present share price plus $1,000.The merging company may issue shares to do so.Shares in the Shares Issued box must be purchased- this money goes to the bank."
My question here is if you merge with a company do you have to buy the shares that are still left in the Available Company Shares?This would mean that in any merger you are paying for at least 5 shares because 5 shares start in the Available Company Shares at the start of the game and at least one of those has to be bought for the company to get on the board.So if green takes over yellow and yellows current share price is $9,000 does green pay each player who has yellow shares($9,000 +$1,000) $10,000 per share,then pay $10,000 per yellow share in the Shares Issued Box(if any),and then pay $10,000 per yellow share still left in the Available Company Shares Board?

3.If you take over a company that has bonds issued to it what happens to the bonds?Are they just forgotten or does the company that took them over have to pay for them?

Thanks for any help.
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KAS
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My thoughts:

For #1, I read it to mean that each company gets to "suggest a merger" with only one other connected company. Therefore, if the vote does not pass, that company does not get to make another merger suggestion until the next turn.

For #2, The shares in the Available Company Shares Box have never been issued so they should not be paid for. Otherwise, it would make the cost of any merger prohibitively expensive since the company being taken over never got to use the capital raised from selling those shares, yet the merging company would still need to pay for them.

For #3, I would treat this the same as shares issued to raise capital for the target company and therefore Bonds would be assumed by the merging company and paid off during the Pay Dividends phase (after interest is paid on it). The other reason why it would not be forgiven is the ability of a player to run it a company into the ground by issuing Bonds (after issuing all 5 shares) and then merging the company with another one they control without having to pay the Bonds off.
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sean brown

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See answers below:

1.From the rules..."The controller may suggest a merger between the company and one other company.Companies may only merge if they are connected."
Does this mean if blue is connected to both yellow and green he can only propose a merger to one of those companies?If blue proposes a merger with yellow and it fails can he still try to propose a merger with green or is it only one chance per turn?

Yes. You may only attempt 1 merger with 1 company per turn.

2.From the rules..."If both companies pass the merger suggestion then the merging company must buy each available share of the target company at it's present share price plus $1,000.The merging company may issue shares to do so.Shares in the Shares Issued box must be purchased- this money goes to the bank."
My question here is if you merge with a company do you have to buy the shares that are still left in the Available Company Shares?

Yes.

This would mean that in any merger you are paying for at least 5 shares because 5 shares start in the Available Company Shares at the start of the game and at least one of those has to be bought for the company to get on the board.So if green takes over yellow and yellows current share price is $9,000 does green pay each player who has yellow shares($9,000 +$1,000) $10,000 per share,then pay $10,000 per yellow share in the Shares Issued Box(if any),and then pay $10,000 per yellow share still left in the Available Company Shares Board?

Yes.

3.If you take over a company that has bonds issued to it what happens to the bonds?Are they just forgotten or does the company that took them over have to pay for them?

They are returned to the box. The merger section of the rulebook states the only thing you get from a merger are the target players links.

sorry, I found this rule after my initial post, and thats why I edited this.


Hope this helps.

Sean
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KAS
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Sean, thanks for your response, but why would shares in the Available Company Shares box need to be purchased?

(1) For starters, where would the money go? (the rules only call for the Bank to get money for Issued Shares)
(2) Those shares were never issued and the target company never received any capital from them being sold so why would they need to be paid off?
(3) How would a merger not be cost prohibitive if you had to pay for all those shares but not get any of the benefit in terms of link expenditures on the board?

 
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KAS
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Upon another read of the rules, this phrase "...then the merging company must buy each available share of the target company at its present share price plus $1,000." is very ambiguous. What are "available shares" in this context? It could be interpreted as (1) only shares of the target company held by other players (bought from the Available Company Shares Box), (2) only shares remaining in the Available Company Shares Box or (3) both (1) & (2).

I still think it should be (1) because of the reasons in my prior post but the wording is certainly open for interpretation. It doesn't even make a reference to paying off the owner(s) of such company share(s).

If it was meant to imply (3), why not just say "...then the merging company must buy each of the 5 available share of the target company at its present share price plus $1,000."


 
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Joseph Betz
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kneumann wrote:
Sean, thanks for your response, but why would shares in the Available Company Shares box need to be purchased?

(1) For starters, where would the money go? (the rules only call for the Bank to get money for Issued Shares)
(2) Those shares were never issued and the target company never received any capital from them being sold so why would they need to be paid off?
(3) How would a merger not be cost prohibitive if you had to pay for all those shares but not get any of the benefit in terms of link expenditures on the board?




1.Who gets the money was going to be my next question.It would seem that it would go to the bank because after a company is taken over in a merger it says it ceases to exist.


Actually even though you will end up paying for at least 5 shares of a company it still seems worth it as you get all the links from that company which will help you make longer deliveries.Also you do not have to waste turns building those links or spend the money to build those links you casn start making deleveries right away.I think it is good that it is a little bit expensive for the merger as it does make you think before you do it.

Also in the rules it says somehthing about using mergers to set up the railroad you control for more deliveries.Another good strategy is to own some shares in the target railroad you are taking over with your own railroad as you get cash equal to the current share value plus $1,000.

Think about it like this.If only 1 person has 1 share of a company and you only had to buy that one share to get all its links that would not seem to fair.

Also if you think about it"available company shares" are exactly what they are.They are shares that are available to buy either from an investor(player in the game)or another train company.

 
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Joseph Betz
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onekccs wrote:
See answers below:

1.From the rules..."The controller may suggest a merger between the company and one other company.Companies may only merge if they are connected."
Does this mean if blue is connected to both yellow and green he can only propose a merger to one of those companies?If blue proposes a merger with yellow and it fails can he still try to propose a merger with green or is it only one chance per turn?

Yes. You may only attempt 1 merger with 1 company per turn.

2.From the rules..."If both companies pass the merger suggestion then the merging company must buy each available share of the target company at it's present share price plus $1,000.The merging company may issue shares to do so.Shares in the Shares Issued box must be purchased- this money goes to the bank."
My question here is if you merge with a company do you have to buy the shares that are still left in the Available Company Shares?

Yes.

This would mean that in any merger you are paying for at least 5 shares because 5 shares start in the Available Company Shares at the start of the game and at least one of those has to be bought for the company to get on the board.So if green takes over yellow and yellows current share price is $9,000 does green pay each player who has yellow shares($9,000 +$1,000) $10,000 per share,then pay $10,000 per yellow share in the Shares Issued Box(if any),and then pay $10,000 per yellow share still left in the Available Company Shares Board?

Yes.

3.If you take over a company that has bonds issued to it what happens to the bonds?Are they just forgotten or does the company that took them over have to pay for them?

The new company must take the bonds. Next turn they can decide to pay them off, or keep paying on them.


Hope this helps.

Sean



Thanks for the answers Sean.

Looks like we were playing it right then.We were only allowing 1 merger try per turn and we did buy the shares from the Available Company Shares of the target company.We put the money in the bank for those but not sure if that part is right but seems like it is.

The third question did not come up in our game but one we thought of as it probably would be rare to happen as usually it seems like the smaller company is usually taken over and sually the smaller company does not usually end up with bonds.
 
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KAS
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Thanks for the response, but if this is the case I am still not convinced how this makes mergers a very viable option.

jbetz45453 wrote:
Actually even though you will end up paying for at least 5 shares of a company it still seems worth it as you get all the links from that company which will help you make longer deliveries. Also you do not have to waste turns building those links or spend the money to build those links you can start making deliveries right away. I think it is good that it is a little bit expensive for the merger as it does make you think before you do it.

A little expensive is what I view the $1k premium / share as but this rule would make it VERY expensive.

Example: two companies with share prices of $10. Company #1 has all 5 shares auctioned off and gets $50 of capital to use for links and/or dividends. Company #2 only has one share auctioned off for $10 in capital.

If the rule for mergers is that all 5 shares need to be bought regardless of whether they are still in the Available Company Shares box or not, another company trying to merge with one of these would have to pay the same price for both. Seem like the right result? Or did Company #1 raise more capital and therefore be more expensive to acquire?

Taken a step further, If Company #2 wanted to raise some additional capital and Issued 4 shares to get to the same $50 that Company #1 has, it would now be almost twice as expensive to acquire Company #2 as it would be for Company #1 yet they had the same amount of capital to use during the game. Seem like an odd result if this was the rule.

jbetz45453 wrote:
Another good strategy is to own some shares in the target railroad you are taking over with your own railroad as you get cash equal to the current share value plus $1,000.
Actually, I think you will find it very difficult to ever trigger a merger unless you own shares of both companies.

jbetz45453 wrote:
Think about it like this. If only 1 person has 1 share of a company and you only had to buy that one share to get all its links that would not seem to fair.

Yes in fact. See my example above. That company has had a lot less capital to use for building links, so they will have much less on the board. In my mind, shares should be considered "outstanding" either when they have been bought from the Available Company Shares box or Issued, but not when they are just "available".

jbetz45453 wrote:
Also if you think about it "available company shares" are exactly what they are. They are shares that are available to buy either from an investor (player in the game) or another train company.

Actually, this is more like a "poison pill" concept - which may be what the designer intended, but would seem out of place. Remember that each share bought at auction or issued dilutes the dividend paid out - but the shares in the Available Company Shares box do not (nor should they since they are not "outstanding"). Therefore, a company trying to take over another company would not willingly buy "available but unissued" shares in the target company. It would dilute the company and also increased the cost of the merger. In fact, companies set up "poison pill" provisions in order to prevent a possible hostile takeover.

Maybe this is in fact the rule, but I do find it hard to reconcile with the other game mechanics.

Another question that the Merger rules seem to overlook: Does any money that the target company has upon takeover go to the merging company? I would assume so (just like any Bonds), but the rules seem to omit what happens to it.

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Paul Marshall
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I totally agree with KAS about the merger shares that need to be purchased to complete the merger (shares bought by other players plus shares issued to the bank). While the rules appear to be written differently, I have played this and will continue to play this in the most "common sense" approach as indicated by KAS.
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Tim Harrison
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I have a friend who was taught by a guy from FRED, and according to her:

1) Available Company Shares do not need to be purchased, and

2) all cash belonging to the purchased company goes to the bank. Only the links are transferred to the buyer.
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KAS
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GamesOnTheBrain wrote:
I have a friend who was taught by a guy from FRED, and according to her:

1) Available Company Shares do not need to be purchased, and

2) all cash belonging to the purchased company goes to the bank. Only the links are transferred to the buyer.


Thanks for the info Tim. Sean Brown who posted above and appears to be affiliated with Eagle Games seems to disagree with #1 but I play it like your friend was taught.

However, #2 seems odd since the acquiring company has to assume any Bonds the target company has so why would they not also be able to acquire all the assets (i.e. links, debt & cash). Just seems inconsistent but may not be a big deal since most target companies in the mergers I have seen tend to have very little cash.

 
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sean brown

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I went to the original word doc that Martin sent us and here is the line he wrote:

"the company carrying out the merger must buy each available share at the present share price plus $1. Company may issue shares to do so. Even shares in the Shares Issued box must be purchased."

So, here is my interpretation:

Each "available share" could be still on the "available company shares" mat, or in players hands. These are to be purchased for present share price plus $1000.

Extra shares may have been issued as well (from the company, and now on the shares issued mat) These shares need to be bought as well, but you would pay the bank for these shares (since the bank bought them from the company, think of it as you are buying from the bank)

The bonds answer I gave earlier is kind of confusing, and I think you may have missed a rule here. You may ONLY issue a bond when a company is out of shares. It seems highly unlikely to me that you would WANT to merge with a company with no shares, a bunch of bonds AND a high par price. Remember, if the company has no money, it is not paying dividends, and its price is sliding down, making it super cheap to buy.

Typically, one would start a company, say "black" and then NOT pay dividends for a few rounds and instead "build" a ton of track, then all the other companies would look at them as a "target" and propose a merger to get their links (and only have to pay a few dollars per share to do so)

One typically would not look at a company with high share prices, lots of track and a ton of debt as a good merger company.

Sean
 
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onekccs wrote:
I went to the original word doc that Martin sent us and here is the line he wrote:

"the company carrying out the merger must buy each available share at the present share price plus $1. Company may issue shares to do so. Even shares in the Shares Issued box must be purchased."

So, here is my interpretation:

Each "available share" could be still on the "available company shares" mat, or in players hands. These are to be purchased for present share price plus $1000.

Extra shares may have been issued as well (from the company, and now on the shares issued mat) These shares need to be bought as well, but you would pay the bank for these shares (since the bank bought them from the company, think of it as you are buying from the bank)

The bonds answer I gave earlier is kind of confusing, and I think you may have missed a rule here. You may ONLY issue a bond when a company is out of shares. It seems highly unlikely to me that you would WANT to merge with a company with no shares, a bunch of bonds AND a high par price. Remember, if the company has no money, it is not paying dividends, and its price is sliding down, making it super cheap to buy.

Typically, one would start a company, say "black" and then NOT pay dividends for a few rounds and instead "build" a ton of track, then all the other companies would look at them as a "target" and propose a merger to get their links (and only have to pay a few dollars per share to do so)

One typically would not look at a company with high share prices, lots of track and a ton of debt as a good merger company.

Sean


Thanks for the information Sean, but I am not sure that really answers some of the questions raised by this. Again, where would the money go for shares that have not been issued or bought yet? Neither the Bank nor the any of the players would appear appropriate. Also, please read my example above. How would this result be what was intended? Are you able to provide any rationale as to why those shares should be bought?

I do know that Bonds can only be issued after all shares have been issued, but I have seen a company taken over with a bond and some cash. It fit that the company taking over would get the bonds and cash so that is how we played it.

I would typically try to get in touch with Martin but as he is on holiday for several more weeks and will have other pressing issues to deal with when he gets back, I doubt we will get clarification from him anytime soon.

Until then, I guess I will need to call the way I have been playing a "variant."



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sean brown

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Kas,

I think you might have missed that when you merge a company you pay the current share price, not the starting price, for all shares issued.

If a company never pays dividends, its share price falls. You buy out a target company based on its current share price (which in most cases is far less than its starting price)

ex.

If a company (say, the black company $6) never issues new shares, and skips paying dividends for a few turns so it can spend its profits making track,its share price would have fallen, and lets say is now worth $2 each. This would make it very easy and affordable for a merger. (and a nice target as well)

This company maybe spent all its money on track, but never delivered a cube, or kept all the money to build. It has a nice network of cubes/links. It has a little cash on it (no bonds)
It has a cheap share price. It is a target. Someone will want to merge it.

 
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onekccs wrote:
I think you might have missed that when you merge a company you pay the current share price, not the starting price, for all shares issued.


Nope. I understand the rules. Are you able to answer some of the questions I posted above?

Lets me know you thoughts on this:

If a merger go through,

(1) The rules are clear that the bank gets $ for issued shares;

(2) Although it is not clearly stated in the rules, I think we can assume that players owning stock of a target company get paid for their shares; and

(3) You are indicating that other shares in the Available Company Shares Box also have to be paid for so where would the money go? it would make sense that the money for those shares should go to the target companies account. And then, to be consistent, along with the other assets of the target company (i.e. bonds & links), it would all be assumed by the merging company going full circle. Sure, it may have resulted in additional shares being issued to raise the capital to buy all the shares, but at least the result would now appear to be consistent with the rest of the rules.

Thanks


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sean brown

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I hope this post will answer any un-answerd or future questions about mergers.


Question:
When a merger occurs, do you get the cash on the target companies tile?
How about their bonds?

Answer:
Once a merger is done,the acting company that bought the target company would get the target companies links (stated in the rulebook) (That is all).

Optionally:
The acting company would get the target companies links and all assets/debts of the old company, including its cash and bonds if it had any (not officially in the rulebook, my interpretation from play test sessions)


Question:
What shares have to be purchased during a merger?

Answer:
When a merging company buys a target company, they must pay for all AVAILABLE shares (stated in the rulebook). AVAILABLE shares are defined as shares on the Available Company Shares mat, in players hands, and on the Shares Issued mat.(also stated in the rulebook)

Unissued (unavailable) shares (ones on the company tile) do not have to be bought. Only AVAILABLE shares are bought during a merger. Every company starts the game with 5 AVAILABLE shares (made available to the players at the start of the game and placed in the Available Shares Box) and 5 unissued shares (placed on their company mat to be used later to raise cash)

As companies Issue shares (from their company mat) they are placed on the "Issued shares" mat and are now considered AVAILABLE.

Some (or all, or none) of the available shares might be owned by players. You pay the players for those. Some (or all, or none) of those available shares might be owned by the bank. You pay the bank for those.






I base the above answers on the following rulebook facts:

In the "starting the game" section of the rulebook it states that you place 5 shares on its "available company shares" box and 5 shares on its "Company tile"

In the "Pay dividends" section of the rulebook it states that you pay dividends to all "ISSUED shares" ie. those held by players as well as those in the "Shares issued" box.

In the "Issuing shares" section of the rulebook it states that you may move a share to the "shares issued" box

In the "Mergers" section, it says that you must buy each AVAILABLE share of the target company, not ISSUED share. **I think this next sentence is causing the questions.** Shares in the "shares issued" box must be purchased. **This is more of a reminder that shares in the "shares issued" box are AVAILABLE shares, a point that in play testing was often forgotten or overlooked.**


Optionally,

I can see the argument that since a share on the "Available Company Shares" box does not get paid a dividend, and the company has not received income for this share, that a company during a buyout (in the real world) would only need to buy the actual "ISSUED" shares that the target company sold, but it does not say this in the rulebook. It says "AVAILABLE" shares.

While this makes total sense to me, it is not what was written in the rules. If your group wants to optionally play this way, feel free.
On many occasions, my group has played with a table rule of only putting 3 shares up at the start of the game on the Available Company Shares box, and 7 unissued shares on the company mat. This gives players more control over their companies. Again, this makes total sense to me, but it is not in the rulebook. I guess in the end, what it boils down to is, feel free to play with any optional rules, or variants you and you group like.

I hope this helps everyone understand mergers a bit more. Again, feel free to play a table rule if you prefer.

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sean brown

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Kas,

1) agreed.

2) agreed.

3) Money paid to any remaining shares in the available company shares box would go to the company. This money would then be returned to the bank, as would the bonds (if any were issued) and the company no longer exists.
A new company could be started next turn. You would put 5 shares on the Available company box and 5 shares on the company tile. 5 shares of some "new" railroad would be available next turn.

The merger rules say that the company gets the targets links only.

I have posted some longer examples below, and even some optional ways to play, but I am strictly going by the rules here, and what is written.
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Jon W
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onekccs wrote:
I hope this helps everyone understand mergers a bit more. Again, feel free to play a table rule if you prefer.

It does help, but I'd prefer this was all nailed down tightly, without any "table rules" (I mean sure, I own the game, I can play it any way I like, but I assume the official rules are that way because they make for the best/most interesting experience; I really don't want to have to experiment). I understand Wallace is unavailable, so I guess we have to wait until then to get the final answer.

A related question: I'm still confused about the distinction between AVAILABLE shares and ISSUED shares. I understand that when a company is started, the company mat gets 5 UNISSUED shares, and then 5 more are AVAILABLE shares (one of which is auctioned off). What I don't get is why UNISSUED shares move to ISSUED once the company receives money for them. Why don't they just move to AVAILABLE? Especially if, per the semi-official (literal?) interpretation above, the only distinction that matters in a merger is what shares are UNISSUED vs. all other categories (ISSUED, AVAILABLE, OWNED).

EDIT - I found the rules relating to my question above (payment for ISSUED shares goes to the bank, while payment for AVAILABLE shares goes to the company). Now I'm back to being confused about the intent behind the official rule. Very weird to have to pay for shares that never generated any capital.
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KAS
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Im with you JW on how inconsistent and unintuitve this rule appears to be from the rest of the game.

waddball wrote:
I understand that when a company is started, the company mat gets 5 UNISSUED shares, and then 5 more are AVAILABLE shares (one of which is auctioned off)

One clarification: Although only one share is auctioned off per auction, I am not aware of any limit to the number of shares of a company that can be auctioned off during the initial setup and/or the Shares Phase. Theoretically all 5 shares of a company could be auctioned off in the initial setup auction.

Sean, thanks for the explanation. I do find it interesting that despite the term "issued share" being clearly defined under the Pay Dividends section, the only mention of the term "available share" in the rules is (a) undefined and (b) only used in that one sentence in the Mergers section you mention above. And when combined with the unintuitive nature of the whole thing, I can’t help but feel that the use of the term could have just been an oversight.

I also agree that the rules provide that the only result of a successful merger is the replacement of built links, but the complete lack of any reference to what happens to Bonds and/or cash from the target company is a little unsettling (i.e. again, it could easily have been just an oversight). The fact that they are effectively forgiven, not only goes against the whole idea of the merger, but would also appear ripe for some abuse (i.e. have one company go into massive debt and issue as many bonds as possible just to take it over with another company and have them all forgiven).

Until we have some additional confirmation from the designer that these were in fact the intended rules and maybe some rationale as to why, not sure there is much more to hash out.
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Jon W
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kneumann wrote:
The fact that they are effectively forgiven, not only goes against the whole idea of the merger, but would also appear ripe for some abuse (i.e. have one company go into massive debt and issue as many bonds as possible just to take it over with another company and have them all forgiven).

Yes, I thought that exact thing last night. Esp. if the target builds some crazy inefficient edge-to-edge link.

But these details will all get ironed out. I've never played any 18xx, so I'm adrift in unfamiliar ideas here anyway. I'm not sure what the 50/50 split between publicly available shares and "guaranteed" bank shares represents. Going in, I would have thought all 10 shares would go on the company, and then would either end up in players' hands (during the share phase) or at the bank (for capital during operations). No need for the "available" chart; if they're not issued, they're available! But I'm sure I'm missing something obvious....
 
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Joseph Betz
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waddball wrote:
kneumann wrote:
The fact that they are effectively forgiven, not only goes against the whole idea of the merger, but would also appear ripe for some abuse (i.e. have one company go into massive debt and issue as many bonds as possible just to take it over with another company and have them all forgiven).

Yes, I thought that exact thing last night. Esp. if the target builds some crazy inefficient edge-to-edge link.

But these details will all get ironed out. I've never played any 18xx, so I'm adrift in unfamiliar ideas here anyway. I'm not sure what the 50/50 split between publicly available shares and "guaranteed" bank shares represents. Going in, I would have thought all 10 shares would go on the company, and then would either end up in players' hands (during the share phase) or at the bank (for capital during operations). No need for the "available" chart; if they're not issued, they're available! But I'm sure I'm missing something obvious....




I think the whole ideal between the 5 available shares and the 5 that start on the company is this....
Since there are only 5 shares available at the beginning of the game you are guaranteed control of the company if you own 3 of those shares.If your company needs money for track or a merger then you need to issue some of these shares to get money.Now those shares that are issued are available to be put up for auction and someone else could outbid you for them and gain control of your company.
Also shares bought from the issued shares space get paid to the bank as the company was already paid for them when they issued them even though the price may have gone up or down since then.Shares bought from the available company shares space get paid to the company.There can be times when there are shares on both spaces and if you put one up for auction you may choose the one that gets paid to the bank because buying that share may not give you ownership yet and you might not want the company to get that money.
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Mike Betzel
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waddball wrote:
But these details will all get ironed out. I've never played any 18xx, so I'm adrift in unfamiliar ideas here anyway. I'm not sure what the 50/50 split between publicly available shares and "guaranteed" bank shares represents. Going in, I would have thought all 10 shares would go on the company, and then would either end up in players' hands (during the share phase) or at the bank (for capital during operations). No need for the "available" chart; if they're not issued, they're available! But I'm sure I'm missing something obvious....


After we played, we agreed that it mostly felt like a mechanism for mergers to work. If you didn't have those 5 "available shares" to start the game, a merger would only involve shared issues/purchased which would make mergers extremely easy to pull off early on. With only two or three shares out to start it wouldn't take much effort for a merger to happen. By requiring a minimum purchase of five shares in a takeover it means that takeovers will have to wait a little bit until a company has enough cash to pull it off.

Beyond that I really see no reason for it to exist. We certainly found it confusing to start and the fact that they are factored into mergers but not into dividends really made us feel that they existed solely to make mergers a viable mechanic.
 
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Chris Rudram
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I assumed (hahaha) that the 5 starting shares are shares the company has issued available into the market, but not yet brought.

The Issue shares are all those that the company sold to raise extra capital instantly, and are now in the hands of the bank/a non-player. Thus they need to be part of the dividend as they represent an ownership of the company (all be it silent ownership). Thus mergers need to buy all shares in players hands and in the issued shares, but not any of the remaining 5 starting shares (which represent potential ownership, but not actual ownership).

I also assumed that the company taking over the other company would receive ALL assets and liabilities.

I'm not sure otherwise how some companies can actually grow enough to pay dividends, expand and be able to takeover/be taken over. If you run a company down, it's ripe for acquisition, but I'm not sure anyone in the game has any money to start a new company to make that purchase effectively.

The game seemed quite short (5-6 turns) in terms of total actions, but plenty long enough in terms of interesting actions. We only played once, and I'd like to get it out for another try. Kinda skeptical if mergers are that hard (seems that with the intepretation I gave merging is good way to grow a company, and kind of reflects how smaller companies merge to become bigger rather than directly growing themselves, which isn't too far off what happened in England and Wales).
 
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Marcin Krupiński
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Until I played last night I though that Available Shares that are needed to be bough durign merger == Shares owned by players + shares owned by bank (Issued shares) + shares on available shares sounds reasonable. It's not reasonable.

With that rule it's not reasonable to merge with small company. You have to buy at least 5 shares, which costs at least couple of thousand $. you have to pay probably around 30$ to merge with that company taking only few tracks. To do that, your company will probably have to issue some shares to do that, so dividends payed out by your company will be smaller because more money would go to the bank. Not to mention that other players will have oportunity to take over your company. That kind of move would be stupid. More profitable is to have some sort of agreement with other company and start to deliver cubes by tracks owned by both companies - so both companies will earn money.

Second: If we make assumption that company will not have any shares issued to the bank, than it's as hard to merge with bigger company than with small company that just started to operate as you would have to buy 5 shares in both cases (of course one company will have cheaper shares than the other). In case you would have to buy only issued shares + shares owned by players (so shares that are taken into consideration durign divident payouts) than merging with small company would mean that you have to buy 1 or 2 shares. If company will grow (more shares would be issued / bought) than that company would be considered bigger and would be harder to merge that railway.

I know that official Fred statement is that

Available Shares == Shares owned by players + shares owned by bank (Issued shares) + shares on "available shares" but I'll try to play without need to buy shares on "avaialble shares".

On the other hand - "do nothing" strategy doesn't seem to be that much big of a deal. If you play with experienced players they won't allow anyone to have company for themselves
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sean brown

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Kas,

You said above that only one share is sold per auction. This is UNTRUE!

During the auction, several shares may be sold. Only after all players have passed on putting a share up for auction does the round end.

Sean
 
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