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The long-run performance of diversifying firms

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The corporate diversification literature presents a puzzle. Short-horizon event studies report positive abnormal returns around the announcement of a diversifying event, while studies that examine diversified firms find evidence that diversified firms are worth less than specialized firms (a diversification discount). If diversification is value destroying, perhaps the destruction occurs over longer periods than have been previously tested. This paper tests the hypothesis that diversifying firms have negative long-run abnormal performance following diversification by examining a sample of specialized firms that have a diversifying event from 1978 through 1998. The firms are tracked for up to five years past their diversification year. There is evidence that value is destroyed for small firms that diversify but enhanced for larger firms that diversify. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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