United Technologies: Are the Parts Worth More Than the Whole?
After spending more than 50 years creating a diversified industrial conglomerate that Fortune Magazine described as "arguably the most profitable conglomerate in America" in 2014, UTC's CEO Greg Hayes was under pressure from activist investors (Dan Loeb and Bill Ackman) to break the company into three standalone businesses in the spring of 2018. The activists claimed that a breakup would create at least $20 billion of incremental value (on top of a current market value of approximately $100 billion) and possibly a lot more. Hayes must decide whether a breakup makes sense-will it create value and, if so, how much value and why? What factors determine whether a conglomerate trades at a discount or a premium, and how big are those discounts and premiums likely to be?