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The underinvestment problem under conglomeration

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  • Jacques A. Schnabel
  • David McMillan

Abstract

This theoretical paper explores whether the underinvestment problem is aggravated or ameliorated by the formation of a pure conglomerate. It establishes that the answer depends critically on the volatility of corporate assets. If volatility is low, conglomeration ameliorates the underinvestment problem, whereas if volatility is high, conglomeration aggravates the underinvestment problem. These analytical results are then invoked as a potential explanation for the ambiguous conclusions of empirical studies that delve into the existence of a conglomerate discount.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacques A. Schnabel & David McMillan, 2015. "The underinvestment problem under conglomeration," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1012452-101, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oaefxx:v:3:y:2015:i:1:p:1012452
    DOI: 10.1080/23322039.2015.1012452
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Galai, Dan & Masulis, Ronald W., 1976. "The option pricing model and the risk factor of stock," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 53-81.
    2. Kim, E Han & McConnell, John J, 1977. "Corporate Mergers and the Co-insurance of Corporate Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 349-365, May.
    3. Lang, Larry H P & Stulz, Rene M, 1994. "Tobin's q, Corporate Diversification, and Firm Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1248-1280, December.
    4. Vojislav Maksimovic, 2001. "The Market for Corporate Assets: Who Engages in Mergers and Asset Sales and Are There Efficiency Gains?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2019-2065, December.
    5. Lewellen, Wilbur G, 1971. "A Pure Financial Rationale for the Conglomerate Merger," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 26(2), pages 521-537, May.
    6. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    7. John R. Graham & Michael L. Lemmon & Jack G. Wolf, 2002. "Does Corporate Diversification Destroy Value?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 695-720, April.
    8. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
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