“Is There a Diversification Discount? A Re-examination” by Dr. Xianming Zhou
The Australian National University
The standard approach in the research of the diversification discount is to examine the excess value estimated from a valuation multiple. The excess value metric has two distinct properties: (1) a segment-size effect due to the link of the multiple to segment size; and (2) an imputed-value uncertainty effect due to the concavity of the excess value function. We first analyze fake conglomerates that are formed from randomly drawn pure-play firms to verify these two effects. Whereas involving no business diversification, these two effects are unusually strong. We then reexamine the diversification discount using real firm data. In a standard empirical framework, we show that the diversification discount disappears after controlling for segment size and imputed value uncertainty.