• Related Diversification;
  • Unrelated Diversification;
  • Korean Firms;
  • Korean Financial Crisis;
  • Chaebol Affiliation


We examine the valuation effects of diversification activities for Korean firms by diversification type and the occasion of the Korean financial crisis. Employing a unique dataset of 2,894 firm-years for the entire manufacturing industries, we find that diversification by Korean firms on average decreases firm value but its effect varies by the type of diversification. While unrelated diversification erodes firm value, related diversification is associated with a non-negative effect on firm value. These valuation effects are more pronounced before the crisis than after the crisis. Our results also show an important role of a firm's affiliation to a large business group, known as chaebols, that related diversification by chaebol-affiliated firms comes with a significant value gain. We further find that the different valuation effects of unrelated and related diversification are closely related to a firm's ownership concentration and financial leverage. Our results are robust to different samples and regression model specifications.