Does corporate diversification by business groups create value? Evidence from Korean chaebols
We investigate the valuation effects of diversification activities by Korean business groups known as chaebols. Employing an extensive dataset of Korean firms and accounting for the endogeneity problem associated with firms' diversification decisions, we offer reconciling evidence that unrelated diversification by Korean firms erodes firm value, but their related diversification does not decrease firm value. Undocumented in the existing literature, we further provide new evidence that a firm's affiliation to a large business group amplifies the valuation effect of firm-level diversification, such that the non-negative or weak positive valuation effect of related diversification is stronger for large business group firms. These findings are supportive of the notion that the unique characteristics of large business group firms such as stronger internal factor markets enable these firms to take advantage of the synergic benefits associated with related diversification. Our findings are robust to different model and sample specifications.
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