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Explaining the Diversification Discount

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  • José Manuel Campa
  • Simi Kedia

Abstract

Diversified firms trade at a discount relative to similar single-segment firms. We argue in this paper that this observed discount is not per se evidence that diversification destroys value. Firms choose to diversify. Firm characteristics, which make firms diversify might also cause them to be discounted. Not taking into account these firm characteristics might wrongly attribute the observed discount to diversification. Data from the Compustat Industry Segment File from 1978 to 1996 are used to select a sample of single segment and diversifying firms. We use three alternative econometric techniques to control for the endogeneity of the diversification decision. All three methods suggest the presence of self-selection in the decision to diversify and a negative correlation between firm's choice to diversify and firm value. The diversification discount always drops, and sometimes turns into a premium, when we control for the endogeneity of the diversification decision. We do a similar analysis in a sample of refocusing firms. Again, some evidence of self-selection by firms exists and we now find a positive correlation between firm's choice to refocus and firm value. These results consistently suggest the importance of taking the endogeneity of the diversification status into account, in analyzing its effects on firm value.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:99-06
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Boyan Jovanovic & Serguey Braguinsky, 2004. "Bidder Discounts and Target Premia in Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 46-56, March.
    2. Lamont, Owen A. & Polk, Christopher, 2002. "Does diversification destroy value? Evidence from the industry shocks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 51-77, January.
    3. Villalonga, Belen, 2000. "Does Diversification Cause the “Diversification Discount”?," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt40v212gm, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
    4. Singh, Manohar & Davidson, Wallace III & Suchard, Jo-Ann, 2003. "Corporate diversification strategies and capital structure," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 147-167.
    5. Acharya, Viral V & Hasan, Iftekhar & Saunders, Anthony, 2002. "The Effects of Focus and Diversification on Bank Risk and Return: Evidence from Individual Bank Loan Portfolios," CEPR Discussion Papers 3252, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Klein, Peter G, 2001. "Were the Acquisitive Conglomerates Inefficient?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 745-761, Winter.
    7. Axel Börsch‐Supan & Jens Köke, 2002. "An Applied Econometricians' View of Empirical Corporate Governance Studies," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(3), pages 295-326, August.
    8. Cestone, Giacinta & Fumagalli, Chiara, 2001. "Internal Capital Markets, Cross-Subsidization and Product Market Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 2935, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Owen Lamont & Christopher Polk, "undated". "The Diversification Discount: Cash Flows vs. Returns."," CRSP working papers 504, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    10. Bengt Holmstrom & Steven N. Kaplan, 2001. "Corporate Governance and Merger Activity in the United States: Making Sense of the 1980s and 1990s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 121-144, Spring.
    11. Billett, Matthew T. & Mauer, David C., 2000. "Diversification and the value of internal capital markets: The case of tracking stock," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(9), pages 1457-1490, September.
    12. Belen Villalonga, 2001. "Diversification Discount or Premium? New Evidence from BITS Establishment-Level Data," Working Papers 01-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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    JEL classification:

    • F20 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - General
    • F29 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Other

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