What Do We Know About Cross-subsidization? Evidence from Merging Firms
A substantial empirical literature documents value-destroying “cross-subsidization” among the divisions of diversified firms. However, this literature relies upon two maintained hypotheses: that divisions of diversified firms are randomly allocated to their corporate parents and that the investment opportunities facing conglomerate divisions are identical to those of stand-alone firms in their industries. I examine the investment behavior prior to merger of a sample of firms that undertook diversifying mergers between 1980 and 1995. I show that, in my sample, investment patterns that the literature has attributed to cross-subsidization between divisions are apparent in the pairs of merging firms prior to their mergers. Thus, some of the cross-subsidization results in the literature may be attributable to selection bias. I also examine stock market responses to announcements of diversifying acquisitions. The event responses are largely independent of measures of the extent to which the merger is diversifying.
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Volume (Year): 4 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
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