Corporate Diversification and Dependence
For corporate management, the strategic decision between running a firm with multiple businesses or focusing on its core business is of fundamental importance. The question of whether corporate diversification creates or destroys value has attracted the attention of researchers and practitioners for quite some time.
The author provides a comprehensive overview of the latest research on the corporate diversification effect on firm value and derives important findings for firm valuation. The well-established standard valuation models are often barely able to consider the peculiarities of multi-business firms, which often operate in various industries and have unique characteristics with respect to growth potential, cash flow dynamics and risk exposure, among other factors.
The author presents a multi-business firm valuation approach which includes the effects of corporate diversification on firm value. The approach contains an explicit projection of the different characteristics for each business segment and considers segment-specific cash flows and capital costs, reflecting the differences in risk and growth characteristics across the different businesses in which a firm operates.
The model also reflects diversification effects across the various phases of the business cycle, by considering asymmetric co-movements between businesses, which the author reveals in an empirical study. These diversification effects include cross-subsidization between business segments and risk reduction through debt co-insurance effect, as well as the impact on bankruptcy costs.
The findings are useful for strategic business planning and the choice of M&A and private equity investments. The work is particularly relevant to decisions on optimal diversification strategy in business portfolio analysis and risk management.