Valuation and performance of firms in complex ownership structures : an application to Korean chaebols
We propose several new metrics to describe the complex ownership structure of business groups, and provide simple formulas and algorithms to compute these metrics. We use these measures to describe in detail the ownership structure of Korean chaebols in the period of 2003 to 2004. In addition, we validate the usefulness of our new metrics by showing empirically that they are important for understanding the valuation and performance of group firms. In particular, we show evidence that firms that are central to the control structure of the chaebol (central firms), firms in cross-shareholdings, and firms that are placed at the bottom of the group (i.e., with lower ultimate ownership) have lower profitability than other group firms. The valuation results suggest that central firms and firms in cross-shareholding loops have lower valuations than other public Chaebol firms. The lower valuation of these firms is not explained by variation in measures of ownership concentration and separation between ownership and control.