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Abstract

We examine the impact of two common methods of internal restructuring, layoffs and divestitures on the survival of a sample of UK firms. Using a Poisson regression model, we find that divestitures improve survival likelihood by reducing the probability and speed of market exit via takeover or bankruptcy, whereas layoffs increase the probability and speed of market exit via bankruptcy. Surprisingly, classifying firms into financially distressed and healthy groups, we find that distressed firms are less likely to restructure. Furthermore, while divestitures improve survival likelihood in both groups, layoff firms are less likely to survive, irrespective of whether they are distressed or healthy. Our findings are consistent with event studies that examine the market reaction to layoffs and divestiture decisions, and so provide some support for the view that the market correctly values the consequences of these restructuring actions on firm survival. The results are robust to several econometric and modeling issues, including controlling for potential self-selection bias.