The Effect of Forced Refocusing on the Value of Diversified Firms

The Effect of Forced Refocusing on the Value of Diversified Firms

John G. Matsusaka 

University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business; USC Gould School of Law

Yongxiang Wang 

University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business
April 25, 2014
USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 14-20
USC CLASS Research Paper No. CLASS14-19

This paper studies how investors responded when Chinese regulators required a group of large, publicly traded companies to divest their non-core hotel and real estate assets in 2010. The quasi-experiment allows direct estimates of the effect of diversification on value that are free from common selection problems in the literature. On average, stock prices rose 1 to 2 percent in response to forced refocusing, suggesting that corporate diversification was a value-destroying strategy for those firms. The implied “excess value/diversification discount” has at best a weak connection to the announcement return. The abnormal return was most positive for companies in which the ultimate controller had small cash flow rights, suggesting that investors were concerned with the possibility of tunneling.

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 (, 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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