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The Choice of Going Public: Spin-offs vs. Carve-outs


  • Roni Michaely
  • Wayne H. Shaw


This study analyzes how firms choose between a spin-off and an equity carve-out as a way to divest assets. Using a sample of 91 master limited partnerships that were issued to the public, we find that riskier, more leveraged, less profitable firms choose to divest through a spin-off. The spin-off firms are smaller and less profitable then the carve-out firms. This suggests that the choice is affected by a firm's access to the capital market: Greater scrutiny and more stringent disclosure are required in care-outs relative to spin-offs. We do not find support for the hypotheses that management attempts to leave undervalued assets in the hands of current shareholders or that parent organizations' need for cash are the driving motives behind the divestiture choice. Little, if any, support is found for operating efficiencies as a reason for these transactions. Both spin-off and the carve-out firms underperform the market by a wide margin. The spin-off parents experienced significantly poor performance, while carve-out parents' performance was commensurate with their control groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Roni Michaely & Wayne H. Shaw, 1995. "The Choice of Going Public: Spin-offs vs. Carve-outs," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 24(3), Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:fma:fmanag:michaely95

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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Pagano & Fabio Panetta & Luigi Zingales, "undated". "Why Do Companies Go Public? An Empirical Analysis," CRSP working papers 330, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    2. Forcadell, Francisco Javier & Sanchez-Riofrio, Angelica & Guerras-Martín, Luis Ángel & Romero-Jordán, Desiderio, 2020. "Is the restructuring-performance relationship moderated by the economic cycle and the institutional environment for corporate governance?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 397-407.
    3. Ma, Qing & Wang, Susheng, 2018. "Divestment options under tacit and incomplete information," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 15-29.
    4. Desai, Chintal A. & Klock, Mark S. & Mansi, Sattar A., 2011. "On the acquisition of equity carve-outs," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 3432-3449.
    5. Desai, Chintal A. & Savickas, Robert, 2010. "On the causes of volatility effects of conglomerate breakups," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 554-571, September.
    6. Klein, Christian & Schiereck, Dirk & Ton, Thai, 2018. "Die langfristige Wertentwicklung von Equity Carve-outs – Aktuelle empirische Evidenz für Westeuropa," Die Unternehmung - Swiss Journal of Business Research and Practice, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, vol. 72(3), pages 197-211.
    7. Chemmanur, Thomas J. & Liu, Mark H., 2011. "Institutional trading, information production, and the choice between spin-offs, carve-outs, and tracking stock issues," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 62-82, February.
    8. Dasilas, Apostolos & Leventis, Stergios, 2018. "The performance of European equity carve-outs," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 121-135.
    9. Ying Lin & Kenneth Yung, 2014. "Earnings management and corporate spinoffs," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 275-300, August.
    10. Miriam Flickinger & Miriam Zschoche, 2018. "Corporate divestiture and performance: an institutional view," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 22(1), pages 111-131, March.
    11. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Luigi Zingales, 1996. "Corporate Ownership Structures: Private versus Social Optimality," NBER Working Papers 5584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Annette B. Poulsen & Mike Stegemoller, 2008. "Moving from Private to Public Ownership: Selling Out to Public Firms versus Initial Public Offerings," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 81-101, March.
    13. Boulifa, Hichem & Uchida, Konari, 2022. "Like father, like son: Who creates listed subsidiaries?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    14. Salim Chahine & Mohamad Zeidan, 2014. "Corporate governance and market performance of parent firms following equity carve-out announcements," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 18(2), pages 471-503, May.
    15. Dmitri Boreiko & Maurizio Murgia, 2013. "European spin-offs Origin, value creation, and long-term performance," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS05, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    16. Ciccotello, Conrad S. & Muscarella, Chris J., 2001. "Contracts between managers and investors: a study of master limited partnership agreements," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-23, March.

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