One of the ways a company can try to unlock its own hidden value is by creating a separate company out of a corporate subsidiary. The parent company can either sell stock in the new company to the public, or spin it off—hand the stock out to its own investors.

Often, the parent company starts by selling a portion of the new company to the public, to establish a market and a following among investors. That way, by the time of the spin-off, stock in the new company may be liquid enough to be sold relatively easily, or retained with some confidence as a worthwhile investment.

In our experience, and in most academic studies of the subject, this helps the parent and its corporate spinoff. Both generally do better than comparable companies for at least several years after the spinoff takes place.

When a company carries out a spinoff, it sets up one of its subsidiaries or divisions as a separate company, then hands out shares in the new company to its own shareholders. It may hand out the shares as a special dividend, or give its shareholders an opportunity to swap shares of the parent company for the shares of the newly established spinoff.

Study after study has shown that after an initial adjustment period of a few months, stock spinoffs tend to outperform groups of comparable stocks for several years. (For that matter, the parent companies also tend to outperform comparable firms for several years after a spinoff.) The above-average performance of spinoffs makes sense for a couple of reasons.

First, company managers naturally prefer to acquire or expand their assets, not get rid of them. Getting rid of assets reduces a company’s total potential profit. The management of a parent company will only hand out a subsidiary to its own investors if it’s nearly certain that the subsidiary, and the parent, will be better off after the spinoff than before.

Second, spinoffs involve a lot of work and legal fees. Companies only have an incentive to do spinoffs under two sets of favourable conditions: When they feel it isn’t a good time to sell (which often means it’s a good time to buy); or, when they feel the assets they plan to spin off will be worth substantially more in the future, possibly within a few years.

Quite often, a big company will spin off a small subsidiary because it feels the subsidiary is a tiny gem, but that it’s too small to make an impact on the much larger financial statements and market capitalization of the parent.

At TSI Network we’ve had great success with a number of spun off stocks over the years. That’s especially true of the many spinoffs we have recommended that have gone up after they began trading, and have later attracted a takeover bid at a substantial premium over the market price.

Needless to say, things don’t always work out this well. Spinoffs and their parents do sometimes run into unforeseeable woes. But on the whole, in investing, spinoffs are the closest thing you can find to a sure thing.

See how you can make the most of these special investment opportunities by reading our special free report Spinoff Stock Investigator: All You Need to Know about Reaping the Rewards of Spinoffs.

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Spinoffs Library Archives

Profit from the current travel rebound

On June 4, 2018, Wyndham Worldwide (old New York symbol WYN) split into two new companies. For every WYN share investors held, they received one share each of the new companies—Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, and Wyndham Destinations (now called Travel + Leisure).
Both stocks suffered during… Read More

Let these stock updates help direct you

AGNICO EAGLE MINES LTD. $63 is a hold. The company (Toronto symbol AEM; Resources Sector; Shares outstanding: 244.9 million; Market cap: $15.4 billion; Dividend yield: 2.8%; Takeover Target Rating: Medium; www.agnicoeagle.com) has eight gold mines: five in Canada (LaRonde, Meadowbank, Meliadine, Goldex and Malarctic), one in Finland (Kittila), and… Read More

Poor profit outlook makes us wary

D2L INC. $14 is a hold. The company (Toronto symbol DTOL; Manufacturing Sector; Shares outstanding: 52.9 million; Market cap: $740.6 million; No dividend paid; Takeover Target Rating: Lowest; www.d2l.com), formerly called Desire2Learn, makes cloud-based educational software. It’s main product, Brightspace, lets teachers create lessons using a variety of… Read More

SPAC deal helps unlock value

AMERICAN EXPRESS CO. $162 is a buy. The famed payment card issuer (New York symbol AXP; Fiannce sector; Shares outstanding: 774.6 million; Market cap: $125.5 million; Dividend yield: 1.1%; Takeover Target Rating: Medium; www.americanexpress.com.com) also owns 50% of American Express Global Business Travel, a firm that provides specialized travel… Read More

We don’t see all spinoffs as winners

While most spinoffs pay off for investors over time, some deliver big gains right away while others can go into a deep slump. Here are two recent spinoffs moving in opposite directions.
GXO LOGISTICS INC. $88 is a spinoff buy. The company (New York symbol GXO; Manufacturing sector;… Read More

Activist pressure a plus for Corteva

CORTEVA INC. $46 is a buy. The company (New York symbol CTVA; Manufacturing sector; Shares outstanding: 728.9 million; Market cap: $33.5 billion; Dividend yield: 1.2%; Takeover Target Rating: Medium; www.corteva.com) is a leading maker of seeds and crop-protection chemicals. On June 1, 2019, DuPont de Nemours Inc. (New York… Read More

Why activists target department stores

Department store chains are favourite targets of activist investors, as markets tend to discount their real estate holdings. That’s largely why they want Macy’s and Kohl’s to spin off their e-commerce businesses. The faster-growing online operations would probably trade at a much high multiple than… Read More

Both are still buys three years later

On September 21, 2018, Eli Lilly set up its animal-health business as a separate company called Elanco Animal Health and sold 19.8% of its shares through an initial public offering at $24 each. The company disposed of its remaining 80.2% stake in Elanco in March… Read More

Spinoff spotlight

3M COMPANY $176 is a buy. The company (New York symbol MMM; Manufacturing sector; Shares outstanding: 576.3 million; Market cap: $101.4 billion; Dividend yield: 3.4%; Takeover Target Rating: Medium; www.3m.com) produces more than 60,000 items, including air purifiers, adhesives, bandages and components for medical devices.
The company is now merging… Read More

Latest pharma spinoff should pay off

Johnson & Johnson recently announced that it would spin off its consumer drug business as a separate firm. This follows several other big pharmaceutical firms, including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, that have completed similar spinoffs.
The breakup will let Johnson & Johnson focus on its more-profitable… Read More

Growing by acquisition adds risk

TOPICUS.COM INC. $124 is a hold. The company (Toronto Venture symbol TOI; Manufacturing sector; Shares outstanding: 39.9 million; Market cap: $4.9 billion; No dividend paid; Takeover Target Rating: Medium; www.topicus.com) is a Netherlands-based provider of education, finance and health-care software. On January 5, 2021, Constellation Software Inc. (Toronto symbol… Read More

Let these stock updates help direct you

SHAW COMMUNICATIONS INC. $37 is a hold. The company (Toronto symbol SJR.B; Utilities Sector; Shares outstanding: 498.7 million; Market cap: $18.5 billion; Dividend yield: 3.2%; Takeover Target Rating: Lowest; www.shaw.ca) recently accepted a takeover offer from rival cable TV and wireless carrier Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto symbol RCI.B). Rogers… Read More

They’re primed for re-opening rebounds

On May 22, 2019, apparel maker VF Corp. spun off its Lee and Wrangler jeans business into a separately traded company called Kontoor Brands. Investors received one share in Kontoor for every seven VF shares they held.
The COVID-19 lockdowns hurt both stocks, but they have… Read More

Spinoff should lift Valvoline higher

VALVOLINE INC. $37 is a buy for aggressive investors. The company (New York symbol VVV; Manufacturing & Industry sector; Shares outstanding: 180.8 million; Market cap: $6.7 billion; Dividend yield: 1.4%; Takeover Target Rating: Medium; www.valvoline.com) is a leading provider of automotive services and premium branded lubricants. It also operates… Read More

Sales can unlock their hidden value

Spinoffs remain a great way for companies to unlock their hidden or under-appreciated assets. However, firms can also opt to unlock that value through a sale. Here are two recent good examples, although we prefer George Weston, over Dorel, for your new buying.

Hilton looks pricey to us

HILTON WORLDWIDE HOLDINGS INC. $145 is a hold. The company (New York symbol HLT; Consumer Sector; Shares outstanding: 278.7 million; Market cap: $40.4 billion; Dividend suspended; Takeover Target Rating: Medium; www.hiltonworldwide.com) owns, manages and franchises hotels under several brands, including Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Doubletree and Embassy Suites by Hilton… Read More

Activists push for more spinoffs

Calls by activist investors for corporate breakups are working. In fact, IBM, GE and Johnson & Johnson have all announced or completed spinoffs in the past few weeks. That pressure should draw more attention to the prospects of these two stocks, but we see just… Read More

Buy for spinoff gains and higher income

H&R REIT’s net asset value (NAV)—the market value of its properties minus any mortgage liabilities—stood at $22.77 a share as of September 30, 2021. That’s 33.9% more than the current trading price of the units.
To narrow that gap, H&R now plans to spin off its… Read More

Spinoff Spotlight: General Electric Co.

ENERAL ELECTRIC CO. $102 remains a hold. The conglomerate (New York symbol GE; Manufacturing sector; Shares outstanding: 1.1 billion; Market cap: $112.2 billion; Dividend yield: 0.3%; Takeover Target Rating: Medium; www.ge.com) plans to break itself up into three separate companies.
In early 2023, GE will hand out shares in its… Read More

We still prefer the parent a year later

In 2019, Pfizer decided to focus on its main prescription drug business, which offers investors higher long-term returns than either over-the-counter and generic drugs.
As part of that plan, on November 16, 2020, the pharma giant combined its Upjohn division (generic pharmaceuticals) with Netherlands-based Mylan N.V…. Read More