Corporate Diversification: What Gets Discounted?

  • Author(s): Sattar A. Mansi, David M. Reeb
  • Published: Dec 17, 2002
  • Pages: 2167-2183
  • DOI: 10.1111/0022-1082.00492

Prior literature finds that diversified firms sell at a discount relative to the sum of the imputed values of their business segments. We explore this documented discount and argue that it stems from risk–reducing effects of corporate diversification. Consistent with this risk–reduction hypothesis, we find that (a) shareholder losses in diversification are a function of firm leverage, (b) all equity firms do not exhibit a diversification discount, and (c) using book values of debt to compute excess value creates a downward bias for diversified firms. Overall, the results indicate that diversification is insignificantly related to excess firm value.

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