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Diversification discount, information rents, and internal capital markets

Chongwoo Choe () and Xiangkang Yin

The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 2009, vol. 49, issue 2, 178-196

Abstract: While many existing studies report that corporate diversification destroys shareholder value, several recent studies challenge these findings. Schoar [Schoar, A. (2002). Effects of corporate diversification on productivity. The Journal of Finance, 57, 2379-2403] finds that plants in conglomerates are more productive than those in comparable single-segment firms, although conglomerates are traded at discounts. Villalonga [Villalonga, B. (2004a). Diversification discount or premium? New evidence from the business information tracking services. The Journal of Finance, 59, 479-506; Villalonga, B. (2004b). Does diversification cause the "diversification discount". Financial Management, 33, 5-27] employs a more comprehensive database and statistical techniques than those used in the prior studies, and shows that there is a diversification premium, rather than discount. This paper develops a model that highlights the costs and benefits of corporate diversification. The diversified firm trades off the benefits of more efficient resource allocation through its internal capital market against the costs of information rents to division managers, which are necessary for effective workings of the internal capital market. We provide an argument supporting Schoar's findings, and identify conditions under which there can be a diversification discount or a premium.

Keywords: Diversification; discount; Information; rents; Internal; capital; market; Multidivisional; firm; Single-segment; firm (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:eee:quaeco:v:49:y:2009:i:2:p:178-196