Spin-Offs and Information
Michel A. Habib
University of Zurich; Swiss Finance Institute
D. Bruce Johnsen
George Mason University - School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
Narayan Y. Naik
London Business School - Institute of Finance and Accounting
This paper provides an explanation for the increase in firm value observed upon spin-off that is based upon the transmission of information about the various assets (or divisions) of a firm from informed to uninformed investors. Spin-offs serve to transmit information from informed to uninformed investors by increasing the number of traded securities, from whose prices uninformed investors can infer part of the private information of informed investors. The additional information made available to uninformed investors improves their estimates of, and decreases their uncertainty about value of the assets of the firm. It thus increases their demand for the securities issued by the firm in the presence of positive information about the value of the assets of the firm, in turn increasing the price of these securities and the value of the firm. The increase in firm value made possible by a spin-off is shown to be related to the amount of trading that follows the spin-off, as uninformed investors increase their total holdings of the various securities. The private information made available to uninformed investors is also made available to managers, who are thereby enabled to make better investment decisions.
JEL Classification: G34working papers series
Date posted: August 22, 1998
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