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Does Diversification Destroy Value? Evidence From Industry Shocks

  • Owen Lamont
  • Christopher Polk

Does corporate diversification reduce shareholder value? Since firms endogenously choose to diversify, exogenous variation in diversification is necessary in order to draw inferences about the causal effect. We examine changes in the within-firm dispersion of industry investment, or diversity.' We find that exogenous changes in diversity, due to changes in industry investment, are negatively related to firm value. Thus diversification destroys value, consistent with the inefficient internal capital markets hypothesis. This finding is not caused by measurement error. We also find that exogenous changes in industry cash flow diversity are negative related to firm value.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7803.

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Date of creation: Jul 2000
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Publication status: published as Lamont, Owen A. and Christopher Polk. "Does Diversification Destroy Value? Evidence From The Industry Shocks," Journal of Financial Economics, 2002, v63(1,Jan), 51-77.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7803
Note: AP CF
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  1. Kaplan, Steven N & Weisbach, Michael S, 1992. " The Success of Acquisitions: Evidence from Divestitures," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(1), pages 107-38, March.
  2. Fluck, Zsuzsanna & Lynch, Anthony W, 1999. "Why Do Firms Merge and Then Divest? A Theory of Financial Synergy," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(3), pages 319-46, July.
  3. Lewellen, Wilbur G, 1971. "A Pure Financial Rationale for the Conglomerate Merger," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 26(2), pages 521-37, May.
  4. Larry H.P. Lang & Rene M. Stulz, 1993. "Tobin's Q, Corporate Diversification and Firm Performance," NBER Working Papers 4376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stein, Jeremy C, 1997. " Internal Capital Markets and the Competition for Corporate Resources," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 111-33, March.
  6. Randall Morck & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1989. "Do Managerial Objectives Drive Bad Acquisitions?," NBER Working Papers 3000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hyun-Han Shin & René M. Stulz, 1998. "Are Internal Capital Markets Efficient?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 531-552, May.
  8. Raghuram Rajan & Henri Servaes & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "The Cost of Diversity: The Diversification Discount and Inefficient Investment," NBER Working Papers 6368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Campa, Jose M. & Kedia, Simi, 2000. "Explaining the diversification discount," IESE Research Papers D/424, IESE Business School.
  10. Owen Lamont & Christopher Polk, 1999. "The Diversification Discount: Cash Flows vs. Returns," NBER Working Papers 7396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Denis, David J & Denis, Diane K & Sarin, Atulya, 1997. " Agency Problems, Equity Ownership, and Corporate Diversification," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 135-60, March.
  12. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 1994. "What do firms do with cash windfalls?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 337-360, December.
  13. Owen Lamont, 1996. "Cash Flow and Investment: Evidence from Internal Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 5499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Berger, Philip G. & Ofek, Eli, 1995. "Diversification's effect on firm value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 39-65, January.
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