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Abstract:

Diversification is a strategic option that many managers use to improve their firms’ performance. This interdisciplinary research attempts to verify whether firm level diversification has any impact on performance. The study finds that on average, diversified firms show better performance compared to undiversified firms on both risk and return dimensions. It also tests the robustness of these results by classifying firms by performance class. The results show that among the best performing class of firms, undiversified firms have higher returns, but these returns are accompanied by high variance. Whereas, highly diversified firms show lower returns, and much lower variance. Results further show that diversified firms perform better than undiversified firms on risk and return dimensions, in the low and average performance classes. The paper concludes that a dominant undiversified firm may perform better than a highly diversified firm in terms of return but its riskiness will be much greater. If managers of such firms opt for diversification, their returns will decrease, but their riskiness will reduce proportionately more than the reduction in their returns. In such firms, there will be a tradeoff between risk and return.

 

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