Firm diversification is shown to be a function of excess discretionary cash flow and managerial risk considerations. We measure firm diversification using the concentric diversification index. The index is positively related to both the number of business units in the firm and the extent to which the business firm's segments differ. Consequently, the measure provides a proxy for how firm diversification decisions impact the risk of the firm, and the measure is found to be inversely related to both total risk and unsystematic risk. Consistent with the agency arguments of discretionary cash flow, we find the level of excess discretionary funds in the firm to be a significant positive determinant of the level of firm diversification. We also find support for both a wealth transfer hypothesis over low levels of managerial ownership, and a managerial risk aversion hypothesis over high levels of managerial ownership.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2004
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