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Conglomeration with bankruptcy costs: Separate or joint financing?



The paper analyzes the determinants of the optimal scope of incorporation in the presence of bankruptcy costs. Bankruptcy costs alone generate a non-trivial tradeoff between the benefit of coinsurance and the cost of risk contamination associated to joint financing corporate projects through debt. This tradeoff is characterized for projects with binary returns, depending on the distributional characteristics of returns (mean, variability, skewness, heterogeneity, correlation, and number of projects), the bankruptcy recovery rate, and the tax rate advantage of debt relative to equity. Our testable predictions are broadly consistent with existing empirical evidence on conglomerate mergers, spin-offs, project finance, and securitization.

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  • Albert Banal-Estañol & Marco Ottaviani, 2009. "Conglomeration with bankruptcy costs: Separate or joint financing?," Economics Working Papers 1191, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1191

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
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    5. Scott, James H, Jr, 1977. "On the Theory of Conglomerate Mergers," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1235-1250, September.
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    7. Sherrill Shaffer, 1989. "Pooling intensifies joint failure risk," Working Papers 89-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    8. Alderson, Michael J. & Betker, Brian L., 1995. "Liquidation costs and capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 45-69, September.
    9. Gary B. Gorton & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "Special Purpose Vehicles and Securitization," NBER Chapters,in: The Risks of Financial Institutions, pages 549-602 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Weiss, Lawrence A., 1990. "Bankruptcy resolution: Direct costs and violation of priority of claims," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 285-314, October.
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    14. Hayne E. Leland, 2007. "Financial Synergies and the Optimal Scope of the Firm: Implications for Mergers, Spinoffs, and Structured Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 765-807, April.
    15. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
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    More about this item


    Bankruptcy; conglomeration; mergers; spin-offs; project finance;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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