Why corporate carve-outs offer Wall Street a lifeline in bear markets

6 minute read
Why carve-outs offer Wall Street a lifeline in a bear market


For established corporations needing cash infusions for strategic reasons, there are other innovative tools like carve-outs and spinoffs to take advantage of changing market trends or divestiture for any number of reasons. A corporation will use a carve-out to sell a part of its business to another company or issue an IPO on a stock exchange. While the new company normally operates independently, the parent company may retain some influence on specific operations because of its history.

There are a wide range of financial instruments to raise capital for young companies that want to “go public.” These investment vehicles include traditional IPO filings, SPAC and De-SPAC transactions and direct listings. For established corporations in need of cash infusions for strategic reasons, there are other innovative tools like carve-outs and spinoffs to take advantage of changing market trends or divestiture for any number of reasons.

What’s the difference between a carve-out and a spinoff for an IPO?

A corporation will use a carve-out to sell a part of its business to another company or issue an IPO on a stock exchange. While the new company normally operates independently, because of its history, the parent company may retain some influence on specific operations.

In a spinoff, however, the parent company creates an entirely separate publicly traded entity from a subsidiary or business unit. The parent company then distributes those shares to its shareholders, who own parts of both companies. Both approaches involve several essential steps that might include IPO filings, SPAC and De-SPAC filings, and SEC filings.

Corporate carve-outs in market context

There were 9,155 carve-outs worldwide in 2021 valued at more than $2.3T. The U.S. market share accounted for 1,433 transactions valued at $891B. As with transactions across all financial vehicles worldwide, there were sharp drops in carve-outs, spinoffs and M&A filings in 2022. In addition, during this time, many companies had to navigate a completely new way of doing business with a remote workforce.

Several key international market trends motivated these divestments. These included providing energy to emerging nations and restructuring companies to comply with climate change regulations.

Why corporations use carve-outs

Companies use carve-outs to cope with dynamic changes in their respective markets. The scope and complexity of such transactions demand close inspection. Proper planning is necessary to ensure current shareholders are safeguarded and their brand is not tarnished. The reasons companies divest are manifold, including:

  • Selling a business unit that’s saddled with old technology or draining corporate resources
  • Eliminating nonstrategic units to concentrate on its core business
  • Enhancing its balance sheet

What does a carve-out mean for an IPO listing? A company may use a carve-out to take advantage of a division’s “hidden value”. This means they can get a higher value for the unit in the IPO market. A corporate carve-out is a great example of the “addition by subtraction” concept that requires solid M&A filing expertise. 

An example of this was when PayPal split from eBay in 2015. This allowed them to invest in and use new technologies without the constraints of eBay’s corporate structure.

The pros and cons of carve-outs

The pros

  • Raises cash from non-core assets
  • Promotes more operational flexibility
  • Improves transparency for reporting and investment decisions
  • Faster and simpler than using IPOs, De-SPACs or direct listings
  • Allows for a cash infusion for the parent company
  • Provides an opportunity to retain some measure of control
  • Allows parent and new companies to focus on their respective core business
  • Allows the market to determine the true value of each entity
  • Creates new opportunities for strategic partnerships and new investors

The cons

  • Requires deep legal and tax expertise/experience to execute
  • May cause temporary disruptions for customers and staff
  • Dilutes ownership despite retaining control
  • Potential loss of synergies and combined strategic value
  • Dilutes talent pool and expertise levels
  • Raises regulatory scrutiny
  • May expose the new carve-out to more risk in sudden economic downturns

Relevant case studies

Corporate carve-outs have a rich history of success that bodes well for investors of all types across the globe. The market is in a position to experience the full advantages of carve-outs in 2023.

This is provided that recent bank failures don’t cause contagion to major financial institutions. With proper planning, many of the disadvantages of carve-outs can be reduced. Here are a few excellent examples of well-executed spinoffs and carve-outs.


Vaunted automaker Porsche owned 50% of the Volkswagen Group. Porsche wanted to raise cash and lower its debt. To do this, it spun off its manufacturing business in 2007 and named it Porsche AG. The rest of the company was then reorganized into Porsche SE, a holding company. 

The AG manufacturing company was given freedom from corporate demands of Volkswagen. This allowed them to focus on creating their renowned sports cars. 

In September of 2022, the Porsche Group took another step toward independence. They issued an IPO of 78 billion Euros on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. This was Europe’s largest IPO in terms of market capitalization.


As one of Israel’s most successful high-tech companies, Mobileye developed advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) for the automotive market. In 2015, Mobileye went public and spun off its mapping and navigation business into a new entity called HERE Mobility to gain more flexibility to compete in the dynamic ADAS market.

This move also allowed the parent company to raise more capital to fund its growing R&D budget. Intel subsequently purchased Mobileye in 2017 for $15B and based on the strength of the burgeoning ADAS market, Intel decided to take Mobileye through another IPO in October 2022 – which raised another $861M.

Bausch + Lomb

Canadian eyecare products manufacturing giant Valeant acquired Bausch and Lomb for $9B in 2013. Since Valeant was more interested in Bausch’s contact lens business, it decided to spin off Bausch and Lomb’s surgical instruments and prescription drug components. This allowed the parent company to concentrate on its core market while letting Bausch and Lomb focus on the contact lens business. This approach also allowed both entities to streamline operations worldwide, making both clear leaders in their respective markets today. 

In May 2022, Bausch and Lomb issued an IPO of 35M common shares priced at $18/share on the NYSE and Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the ticker symbol “BLCO.”

How carve-outs mitigate the effects of bear markets

Depending on whom you ask, a “bear market” can mean different things to different investors. People who “short” stocks (bet the stock’s price will fall) love bear markets since it means their short-term investment strategies are timely. Standard-issue investors, however, fear bear markets because they normally depend on value increases over time. Sometimes the Bulls win, and sometimes the Bears take center stage. 

Generally, a “bear market” is an extended decline of 20% or more in stock prices across all market sectors. Although there were 9,155 carve-outs worldwide in 2021, that growth softened when only 3,837 spinoffs were issued in the first half of 2022. 

Despite an anemic 2022, corporate carve-outs promise to make a roaring comeback in 2023 for a variety of reasons that hinge upon escalating global energy needs, meeting climate change requirements and a “return to core” philosophy gaining popularity in many board rooms today. While IPO and SEC filings, direct listings and M&A filings may decline in bear markets because of their specialized requirements, carve-outs/spinoffs continue to offer established corporations direct access to fresh capital, durable operational flexibility, effective indirect management control and exceptional opportunities for creating forward-looking strategic partnerships.

Toppan Merrill is here to help

The experts at Toppan Merrill are well-versed in carve-out and spinoff regimens and understand what document and regulatory needs apply to your specific M&A needs. To speak with an expert, contact us or or call 800.688.4400.

Toppan Merrill

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