Ownership Structure and Divestiture Decisions: Evidence from Australian Firms

Ownership Structure and Divestiture Decisions: Evidence from Australian Firms

Pascal Nguyen University of Technology, Sydney (UTS); Financial Research Network (FIRN)

Nahid I. Rahman University of Technology, Sydney (UTS); Financial Research Network (FIRN)

Lucy Zhao University of Technology, Sydney (UTS); Financial Research Network (FIRN)

January 9, 2013
2013 Financial Markets & Corporate Governance Conference

Divestitures have the potential to create shareholder value by helping firms optimize their portfolio of assets. Even so, firms do not necessarily take up divestitures because of agency problems. In fact, large controlling shareholders may prefer to extract private benefits of control at the expense of minority shareholders. In addition, divestitures may expose the misappropriation of corporate resources. In this paper, we explore the role that other blockholders play in constraining the largest shareholder’s influence. The results indicate that divestiture activity decreases with the ownership of the largest shareholder, which imposes a cost to minority shareholders since the firm’s value is not maximized. The presence of another significant blockholder appears to curb this negative bias towards divestitures. This finding provides an economic rationale for the higher performance of firms characterized by more balanced ownership structures. Involvement of family owners also appears to provide similar benefits.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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