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The Diversification Discount: Cash Flows vs. Returns

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  • Owen Lamont
  • Christopher Polk

Abstract

Diversified firms have different values than comparable portfolios of single-segment firms. These value differences must be due to differences in either future cash flows or future returns. Expected security returns on diversified firms vary systematically with relative value. Discount firms have significantly higher subsequent returns than premium firms. Slightly more than half of the cross-sectional variation in excess values is due to variation in expected future cash flows, with the remainder due to variation in expected future returns and to covariation between cash flow and returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Owen Lamont & Christopher Polk, 1999. "The Diversification Discount: Cash Flows vs. Returns," NBER Working Papers 7396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7396 Note: AP CF ME
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    Cited by:

    1. Laeven, Luc & Levine, Ross, 2007. "Is there a diversification discount in financial conglomerates?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 331-367, August.
    2. Christian Espinosa & Carlos Maquieira, 2010. "Diversificación y Desempeño en Sud América: Evidencia para Chile," Working Papers 10, Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Universidad Diego Portales.
    3. van Lelyveld, Iman & Knot, Klaas, 2009. "Do financial conglomerates create or destroy value? Evidence for the EU," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 2312-2321, December.
    4. José Manuel Campa & Simi Kedia, 1999. "Explaining the Diversification Discount," Working Papers 99-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    5. Nesta, Lionel, 2008. "Knowledge and productivity in the world's largest manufacturing corporations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 886-902, September.
    6. Acharya, Viral V & Bisin, Alberto, 2002. "Entrepreneurial Incentives in Stock Market Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 3474, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Jose Manuel Campa & Simi Kedia, 2002. "Explaining the Diversification Discount," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1731-1762, August.
    8. Lionel Nesta, 2005. "Knowledge and Productivity in the World's Largest Manufacturing Corporations Level:Panel Data analysis on Compustat and Patent data," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2005-17, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    9. Pasternack, Daniel & Rosenberg, Matts, 2003. "What Determines Stock Option Contract Design?," Working Papers 498, Hanken School of Economics.
    10. Campa, Jose M. & Chang, Kevin & Refalo, James F., 2000. "Options-based analysis of emerging market exchange rate expectations: Brazil's real plan, 1994-1999, An," IESE Research Papers D/425, IESE Business School.
    11. Owen A. Lamont & Christopher Polk, "undated". "Does Diversification Destroy Value? Evidence from Industry Shocks."," CRSP working papers 521, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    12. Lauren Cohen & Dong Lou, 2011. "Complicated Firms," FMG Discussion Papers dp683, Financial Markets Group.
    13. Laeven, Luc, 2001. "International evidence on the value of product and geographic diversity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2729, The World Bank.
    14. Rosenberg, Matts, 2003. "Stock Option Compensation in Finland: An Analysis of Economic Determinants, Contracting Frequency, and Design," Working Papers 496, Hanken School of Economics.
    15. David Hyland, 2008. "The long-run performance of diversifying firms," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 32(3), pages 294-310, July.
    16. Martin, John D. & Sayrak, Akin, 2003. "Corporate diversification and shareholder value: a survey of recent literature," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 37-57, January.
    17. Ferris, Stephen P. & Sen, Nilanjan & Lim, Chee Yeow & Yeo, Gillian H. H., 2002. "Corporate focus versus diversification: the role of growth opportunities and cashflow," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 231-252, July.
    18. von Nandelstadh , Alexander & Rosenberg, Matts, 2003. "Corporate Governance Mechanisms and Firm Performance: Evidence from Finland," Working Papers 497, Hanken School of Economics.
    19. Guo, Enyang & Keown, Arthur J. & Sen, Nilanjan, 2001. "The impact of firm diversification and focus: The Japanese experience," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, pages 165-193.
    20. Stein, Jeremy C., 2003. "Agency, information and corporate investment," Handbook of the Economics of Finance,in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 111-165 Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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