Corporate Diversification, Asymmetric Information, and Firm Value: Evidence from Stock Market Trading Characteristics
52 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2000
There is no clear theoretical consensus about the overall effect of firm diversification on the magnitude of asymmetric information problems that firms face. We therefore compare stock market based measures of asymmetric information for diversified firms with those they could reasonably expect to exhibit if they were split along industry lines into separately traded entities. We find that approximately 74% of the diversified firms in our sample have less severe asymmetric information problems as conglomerates than they could expect to experience as separately traded pure-play firms. We also find evidence that diversified firms with low levels of information asymmetry trade at significant diversification premiums while diversified firms with high levels of information asymmetry trade at significant diversification discounts.
JEL Classification: G32, G34
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