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Is the diversification discount caused by the book value bias of debt?

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  • Glaser, Markus
  • Müller, Sebastian

Abstract

We analyze whether the diversification discount is driven by the book value bias of corporate debt. Book values of debt may be a more downward biased proxy of the market value of debt for diversified firms, relative to undiversified firms, as diversification leads to lower firm risk. Thus, measures of firm value based on book values of debt undervalue diversified firms relative to focused firms. Our paper complements recent literature which uses market values to test the risk reduction hypothesis for a subsample of firms for which debt is traded. Alternatively, we employ market value of debt estimates for the whole firm universe. Consistent with the above hypothesis, we show that the use of book values of debt underestimates the value of diversified firms. There is no discount for mainly equity financed firms and lower distress risk and equity volatility for diversified firms. More concentrated ownership increases firm valuation.

Suggested Citation

  • Glaser, Markus & Müller, Sebastian, 2010. "Is the diversification discount caused by the book value bias of debt?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2307-2317, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:34:y:2010:i:10:p:2307-2317
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    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Bong Soo & Li, Ming-Yuan Leon, 2012. "Diversification and risk-adjusted performance: A quantile regression approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 2157-2173.
    2. repec:eee:ecofin:v:42:y:2017:i:c:p:218-236 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Nadine Gatzert & Hato Schmeiser, 2011. "On the risk situation of financial conglomerates: does diversification matter?," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 25(1), pages 3-26, March.
    4. Rudolph, Christin & Schwetzler, Bernhard, 2014. "Mountain or molehill? Downward biases in the conglomerate discount measure," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 420-431.
    5. Hoechle, Daniel & Schmid, Markus & Walter, Ingo & Yermack, David, 2012. "How much of the diversification discount can be explained by poor corporate governance?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 41-60.
    6. USHIJIMA Tatsuo, 2016. "Corporate Diversification, Employee Bargaining Power, and Wages," Discussion papers 16103, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    7. Chen, Sheng-Syan & Chen, I-Ju, 2012. "Corporate governance and capital allocations of diversified firms," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 395-409.
    8. Stefan Erdorf & Thomas Hartmann-Wendels & Nicolas Heinrichs & Michael Matz, 2013. "Corporate diversification and firm value: a survey of recent literature," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 27(2), pages 187-215, June.
    9. Markus Glaser & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Zacharias Sautner, 2013. "Opening the Black Box: Internal Capital Markets and Managerial Power," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(4), pages 1577-1631, August.
    10. Schmid, Markus M. & Walter, Ingo, 2012. "Geographic diversification and firm value in the financial services industry," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 109-122.
    11. Grass, Gunnar, 2010. "The impact of conglomeration on the option value of equity," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 3010-3024, December.
    12. Ulf Mohrmann & Jan Riepe & Ulrike Stefani, 2013. "Are Extensive Audits 'Good News'? Market Perceptions of Abnormal Audit Fees and Fair Value Disclosures," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2013-08, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.

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