Were the Acquisitive Conglomerates Inefficient?
Peter G. Klein
University of Missouri, Division of Applied Social Sciences; Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration; Ludwig von Mises Institute
September 21, 2001
This paper challenges the conventional wisdom that the 1960s conglomerates were inefficient. I offer valuation results consistent with recent event-study evidence that markets typically rewarded diversifying acquisitions. Using new data, I compute industry-adjusted valuation, profitability, leverage, and investment ratios for thirty-six large, acquisitive conglomerates from 1966 to 1974. During the early 1970s, the conglomerates were less valuable and less profitable than standalone firms, favoring an agency explanation for unrelated diversification. In the 1960s, however, conglomerates were valued at a premium. Evidence from acquisition histories suggests that during the 1960s, conglomerate diversification may have added value by creating internal capital markets.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
JEL Classification: L22, G34working papers series
Date posted: January 21, 1998
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