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Uncertainty, Capital Investment, and Corporate Diversification

45 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2015 Last revised: 6 Sep 2017

Sangwon Lee

University of Houston, Department of Finance, Students

Date Written: September 5, 2017

Abstract

This paper examines how the effect of uncertainty on capital investment varies between focused firms and conglomerate segments. One of the advantages of conglomeration is that segments have access to the conglomerate's internal capital market and are thus less likely to be financially constrained. Consistent with the idea that uncertainty exacerbates financial frictions, I find that industry-level uncertainty has a negative effect on the investment of focused firms but has no statistically significant effect on the investment of conglomerate segments. An average conglomerate firm redeploys investment capital from its segments in low uncertainty industries to the segments in high uncertainty industries. Excess values and M&A announcement returns of a conglomerate firm is increasing in the uncertainty. Overall, this study highlights that corporate diversification may improve the efficiency of capital investment decisions under uncertainty.

Keywords: Uncertainty, capital investment, corporate diversification, internal capital markets, financial frictions

JEL Classification: G30, G32, G39

Suggested Citation

Lee, Sangwon, Uncertainty, Capital Investment, and Corporate Diversification (September 5, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2591750 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2591750

Sangwon Lee (Contact Author)

University of Houston, Department of Finance, Students ( email )

Houston, TX
United States

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