Monday, September 19, 2011
Another Break-up at Tyco
The recent burst of break-up activity among diversified companies continues. Tyco has announced its intention to break up into three separate firms: security, fire- protection and flow-control. The split follows a 2007 break-up in the wake of the Kozlowski scandals. At that time, Covidien and TE Connectivity became independent companies. With this announcement, the Kozlowski empire has been dismantled completely. I'm not surprised by the move. The firm had become more focused after the 2007 spin-offs, but it still remained a company with limited synergies among these business units. In an era of lower economic growth, firms cannot justify these diversification strategies as easily. They have to show the economic value of diversification. If not, they must try to create shareholder value by freeing the units to operate as independent, focused companies. In the past, economic growth masked some of these sins of diversification at many firms.