It is well established in recent decades that equity investors value business based on earnings/potential earnings and on the capability of assets of any kind to generate and maintain earnings. Whether those assets are “tangible” or “intangible” is not a great concern – they either perform the value enhancing function or not.
As the opportunities for value enhancement have shifted for many activities away from fixed assets increasing proportions of value accrue to “intangibles”. This research maps that for a variety of equity capital markets. This is simply a rational shift from what counts for less to what counts for more. Not just investors but also managers and boards need to “follow the money” and think this way too.