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The WACC Fallacy: The Real Effects of Using a Unique Discount Rate

Author

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  • David Thesmar

    () (GREGH - Groupement de Recherche et d'Etudes en Gestion à HEC - HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • P. Kruger
  • Augustin Landier

Abstract

type="main"> In this paper, we test whether firms properly adjust for risk in their capital budgeting decisions. If managers use a single discount rate within firms, we expect that conglomerates underinvest (overinvest) in relatively safe (risky) divisions. We measure division relative risk as the difference between the division's asset beta and a firm-wide beta. We establish a robust and significant positive relationship between division-level investment and division relative risk. Next, we measure the value loss due to this behavior in the context of acquisitions. When the bidder's beta is lower than that of the target, announcement returns are significantly lower.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • David Thesmar & P. Kruger & Augustin Landier, 2011. "The WACC Fallacy: The Real Effects of Using a Unique Discount Rate," Post-Print hal-00578326, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00578326
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-hec.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00578326
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Randolph Sloof & Mirjam Praag, 2015. "Testing for Distortions in Performance Measures: An Application to Residual Income-Based Measures like Economic Value Added," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(1), pages 74-91, March.
    2. Gollier, Christian, 2012. "Asset pricing with uncertain betas: A long-term perspective," IDEI Working Papers 752, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    3. Gollier, Christian, 2012. "A theory of rational short-termism with uncertain betas," LERNA Working Papers 12.14.371, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
    4. Custódio, Cláudia & Metzger, Daniel, 2014. "Financial expert CEOs: CEO׳s work experience and firm׳s financial policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 125-154.
    5. Iachan, Felipe Saraiva, 2017. "Capital budgeting and risk taking under credit constraints," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 786, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    6. Marcelo Bianconi & Joe Akira Yoshino, 2015. "Empirical Estimation of the Cost of Equity: An Application to Selected Brazilian Utilities Companies," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 5, pages 1-21, February.
    7. Schneider, C.A.R. & Spalt, Oliver, 2016. "Conglomerate investment, skewness, and the CEO long shot bias," Other publications TiSEM 5d9321e2-35ea-40f9-9eae-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. Marcel Boyer & Éric Gravel & Sandy Mokbel, 2013. "The Valuation of Public Projects: Risks, Cost of Financing and Cost of Capital Current," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 388, September.
    9. Jessen, Cathrine & Lando, David, 2015. "Robustness of distance-to-default," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 493-505.
    10. Gatzer, Sebastian & Hoang, Daniel & Ruckes, Martin, 2015. "Internal Capital Markets and Diversified Firms: Theory and Practice," EconStor Preprints 169432, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    11. Baker, Malcolm & Wurgler, Jeffrey, 2013. "Behavioral Corporate Finance: An Updated Survey," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    WACC Fallacy; Effect; Discount Rate;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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