Carve-Out: Definition, Types, Process, Examples, Benefits


Carve-Out: Definition , Why it is so important? by avendata

What is a Carve-out?

Carve-Out Meaning:
When companies decide to sell companies or business units, this is known as a carve-out. The reasons for this can be many and varied.  Carve-outs, also known as partial divestiture or deconsolidation, involve the strategic separation of a business unit or assets, providing companies with a means to optimize focus and value within their operations. In addition to organizational and contractual challenges, this also poses a special challenge for IT.

carveout-definition By AvenDATA

Types of Carve-Outs

Carve-outs are strategic initiatives that involve separating a specific business unit, division, or set of assets from a parent company to create a separate entity. This restructuring approach allows companies to focus on core operations, unlock value, and pursue new opportunities. There are various types of carve outs, each serving distinct objectives. Let’s explore some common types of carve-outs:

Types of Carve-out

1) Spin-Offs

A spin-off is a type of carve out where a parent company separates a business unit or division and establishes it as an independent, standalone company. The parent company distributes shares of the newly created entity to its existing shareholders. Spin-offs allow the newly formed entity to operate autonomously and pursue its own strategic direction. This type of carve-out often occurs when the parent company believes that the business unit or division will have better prospects as a separate entity.

2) Equity Carve-Outs

In an equity carve-out, the parent company sells a portion of its ownership stake in a business unit or division through an initial public offering (IPO). This results in the creation of a separate publicly traded entity. The parent company retains majority ownership while allowing outside investors to hold shares in the carved-out entity. Equity carve-outs provide an opportunity for the parent company to raise capital while maintaining control over the strategic direction of the business.

3) Asset Carve-Out

In an asset carve-out, specific assets or a distinct portion of a business are separated from the parent company to form a new entity. This type of carve-out involves transferring physical assets, intellectual property, contracts, or customer relationships to the carve-out entity. Asset carve-outs are often undertaken to focus on core operations, unlock value from non-core assets, or facilitate a strategic partnership or sale of the separated assets.

4) Management Buyout (MBO)

A management buyout (MBO) occurs when the existing management team of a business unit or division acquires ownership and control of the entity, typically with the support of external financing or private equity firms. In an MBO, the carve-out entity becomes independent from the parent company, and its management team takes over the operations and strategic direction. MBOs are commonly pursued when the management team believes they can enhance the performance and value of the business unit by operating it independently.

5) Joint Venture or Strategic Partnership

In some cases, a carve-out can involve forming a joint venture or strategic partnership between the parent company and the carve-out entity. This type of carve-out allows for collaboration, shared resources, and combined expertise to achieve mutual strategic goals. Joint ventures or strategic partnerships can provide opportunities for market expansion, technological advancements, or accessing new customer segments while maintaining some level of connection with the parent company.

Data Carve-out

A data carve-out refers to the process of separating and isolating specific data sets or information from a parent company or larger dataset. This practice is typically employed to protect and manage valuable data separately, either for strategic or regulatory reasons. Data carve-outs allow organizations to focus on specific data subsets, streamline operations, enhance security, and facilitate data management.

IT Carve-out

An IT carve out refers to the process of separating a specific IT system, technology infrastructure, or set of IT services from a parent company or organization to create an independent IT entity. This strategic initiative allows companies to streamline their technology operations, enhance focus, improve efficiency, and enable flexibility in managing IT resources.

Corporate Carve-Out

A corporate carve-out, also known as a business carve-out or divestiture, is a strategic process in which a company decides to sell or separate a specific segment, business unit, or subsidiary from its overall operations. This can involve spinning off a division, business line, or subsidiary into an independent entity.
Corporate Carve-out Definition

The reasons for a corporate carve-out can vary, including a desire to focus on core business activities, improve financial performance, reduce debt, or capitalize on the value of a particular business unit. Corporate carve-outs can also result from regulatory requirements or a need to streamline operations.

These are some of the common types of carve outs used by companies to create separate entities and achieve specific strategic objectives. The choice of carve out type depends on factors such as the nature of the business, market conditions, financial considerations, and the desired level of independence for the carved-out entity.

Carve-out Vs Spin-off

Both corporate carve-outs and spin-offs are strategies that entail the separation of a business unit or division from a larger company. However, they exhibit notable disparities concerning ownership, structure, and intent. Below, we provide an overview of the contrasts between these two approaches:

Key Differences:
Criteria Carve-Out Spin-Off
Definition A carve-out involves segregating a specific part or division of a company to operate independently. A spin-off entails the creation of a new, independent company through the divestiture of an existing business unit.
Ownership Structure The parent company usually retains some level of ownership or control over the carved-out entity. The spin-off company becomes a separate, independent entity with its own ownership structure, often distributing shares to existing shareholders.
Independence The carved-out entity may still have ties to the parent company, such as shared services or contractual agreements. The spin-off company operates independently and is no longer directly tied to the parent company.
Motivation Carve-outs are often driven by a desire to focus on core business operations and shed non-core or underperforming units. Spin-offs are typically motivated by a strategic decision to unlock value, allow the spun-off unit to thrive independently, or simplify the corporate structure.
Financial Structure Carve-outs may involve the parent company providing financial support or maintaining financial ties with the separated entity. Spin-offs result in the spun-off entity having its own financial structure, including its own balance sheet and capital structure.
Employee Impact Employees of the carved-out entity may still be connected to the parent company, sharing certain resources or services. Employees of the spun-off entity become part of a new, independent organization with its own HR policies and practices.
Timing and Process Carve-outs can be more complex and may involve ongoing relationships with the parent company after the separation. Spin-offs are often more definitive, with a clear break between the parent company and the spun-off entity.
Example If a technology division of a conglomerate is separated but continues to use some shared resources from the parent, it’s a carve-out. If a pharmaceutical company spins off its consumer goods division into a separate company, it’s a spin-off.

What is a Carve-out approach?

A carve-out approach is a strategic business move where a company chooses to sell or divest a specific segment, business unit, or subsidiary from its overall operations. This separation allows the carved-out entity to operate independently, often under new ownership, while the parent company retains its core activities.

Carve-outs are typically driven by various motives, such as enhancing the parent company’s focus on its core competencies, improving financial performance, reducing debt, or capitalizing on the value of the divested business. This strategy enables companies to allocate resources more efficiently and prioritize their strengths.

Benefits of Carve-Outs

Carve-outs offer several benefits to businesses that strategically implement them. These benefits can positively impact the parent company as well as the carved-out entity. Here are some key benefits of carve-outs:

1. Strategic Focus

Carve-outs allow companies to sharpen their strategic focus by separating non-core or underperforming divisions. By shedding these entities, businesses can allocate resources more efficiently to their core competencies, improving operational effectiveness and enabling better decision-making. This strategic focus enhances the company’s ability to innovate, adapt to market changes, and achieve sustainable growth.

2. Value Creation

One of the significant benefits of carve-outs is the potential for value creation. By creating independent entities through carve-outs, businesses can unlock the value of specific business units or assets. These entities can operate with dedicated resources, tailored strategies, and a heightened market focus. This can result in increased operational efficiency, improved profitability, enhanced market visibility, and ultimately, higher valuation and shareholder value.

3. Flexibility and Agility

Carve-outs introduce greater flexibility and agility into the business landscape. By separating non-core divisions or business units, companies can streamline operations and make decisions more swiftly. This increased agility enables them to respond effectively to market changes, emerging trends, and evolving customer demands. The carved-out entity, in particular, can operate with greater autonomy and adaptability, allowing it to seize new opportunities and navigate industry dynamics more effectively.

4. Access to Capital

Carve-outs, especially equity carve-outs, can provide access to capital markets for the carved-out entity. By conducting an initial public offering (IPO) or attracting external investors, the carved-out entity can raise funds for expansion, research and development, or strategic initiatives. This increased access to capital fuels growth, supports innovation, and strengthens the financial position of the carved-out entity. Simultaneously, the parent company can benefit from improved financial flexibility and reduced exposure to certain business risks.

5. Strategic Alignment and Partnership Opportunities

Carve-outs can create strategic alignment and partnership opportunities for both the parent company and the carved-out entity. The separation allows each entity to focus on its specific strengths, goals, and market dynamics. This opens the door to potential collaborations, joint ventures, or strategic partnerships with other organizations. By leveraging complementary capabilities, resources, or market access, the parent company and the carved-out entity can achieve synergies and create additional value together.

6. Entrepreneurial Culture and Motivation

Carve-outs often cultivate an entrepreneurial culture within the carved-out entity. With its separate management team and identity, the carved-out entity can foster a sense of ownership, accountability, and motivation among its employees. This entrepreneurial culture encourages innovation, creative thinking, and a drive for success. It can lead to increased employee satisfaction, productivity, and loyalty, benefiting the carved-out entity’s overall performance.

Carve out benefits to the subsidiary

  1. Independence: Carving out a subsidiary can provide it with greater independence and autonomy, allowing it to make strategic decisions tailored to its own business needs.
  2. Access to Capital: In cases of equity carve-outs or partial IPOs, the subsidiary can raise capital by selling shares to the public or private investors. This infusion of funds can be used for growth, investment, or debt reduction.
  3. Enhanced Focus: As a standalone entity, the subsidiary can concentrate its resources and efforts on its core business, potentially leading to improved operational efficiency and competitiveness.
  4. Strategic Growth: Carved-out subsidiaries may have the flexibility to pursue strategic partnerships, mergers, or acquisitions that align with their business goals, without the constraints of the parent company.

Carve out benefits to the parent company

  1. Value Unlocking: Carve-out transactions can unlock the value of a subsidiary or division that may not be fully reflected in the parent company’s stock price, potentially leading to an increase in shareholder value.
  2. Focus on Core Business: By divesting non-core assets or businesses, the parent company can sharpen its focus on its primary operations and strategic priorities.
  3. Capital Generation: Equity carve-outs and asset sales can provide the parent company with an injection of capital, which can be used for debt reduction, reinvestment in core business areas, or other corporate purposes.
  4. Risk Mitigation: Separating a subsidiary can help the parent company isolate and limit its exposure to risks associated with that business unit, potentially insulating the core business from adverse developments.
  5. Streamlined Operations: A successful carve-out can lead to streamlined corporate operations, simplified financial reporting, and reduced administrative overhead.
  6. Strategic Flexibility: The parent company gains flexibility to enter into new strategic partnerships, mergers, or acquisitions that align with its core business without the constraints of non-core subsidiaries.

Examples of Carve-Outs

Carve-outs are strategic initiatives that involve separating a specific business unit, division, or set of assets from a parent company to create a separate entity. Here are some examples of carve-outs that have been implemented by businesses:

Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Agilent Technologies

In 1999, Hewlett-Packard (HP), a leading technology company, implemented a carve-out by spinning off its electronic measurement business. The spin-off created a new company called Agilent Technologies, which focused on providing measurement and testing equipment. This carve-out allowed HP to sharpen its focus on its core computing and imaging businesses, while Agilent Technologies gained independence to cater to the specific needs of its target market.

General Electric (GE) and Synchrony Financial

General Electric (GE), a multinational conglomerate, implemented an equity carve-out in 2014 by conducting an IPO of Synchrony Financial, its consumer finance division. Synchrony Financial became an independent company specializing in consumer financial services, including credit cards and retail banking. This carve-out allowed GE to reduce its exposure to the financial sector and focus on its core industrial businesses, while Synchrony Financial gained access to capital markets and positioned itself as a leading provider of consumer financial solutions.
These examples illustrate how carve-outs can be utilized to optimize business operations, unlock value, enhance focus, and facilitate the growth of both parent companies and the newly created entities. However, it’s important to note that each carve-out is unique and should be carefully planned and executed to ensure a successful transition for all parties involved.

Objectives of Carve Outs

Carve-outs are strategic initiatives undertaken by companies with specific objectives in mind. These objectives can vary depending on the company’s goals, market conditions, and internal considerations. Here are some common objectives of carve-outs:

1. Focus on Core Competencies

One of the primary objectives of a carve-out is to enable the parent company to focus on its core competencies. By separating non-core divisions or business units, companies can allocate resources more efficiently and concentrate on activities that drive their competitive advantage. Carve-outs allow businesses to streamline operations, optimize performance, and enhance their ability to meet customer demands.

2. Unlock Value

Carve-outs can be implemented to unlock the value of specific business units or assets. By creating separate entities, companies can enhance the visibility and marketability of these units, potentially attracting investors or buyers who perceive greater value in their standalone operations. Unlocking value through carve-outs can lead to improved financial performance, increased shareholder value, and opportunities for further growth and investment.

3. Strategic Focus and Flexibility

Carve-outs provide an opportunity for companies to align their strategies more effectively. By separating non-core divisions, a company can tailor its resources, investments, and decision-making processes to the specific needs and objectives of each entity. This strategic focus allows for greater flexibility, responsiveness to market dynamics, and the ability to seize new opportunities in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

4. Capital Generation

Carve-outs, particularly equity carve-outs, can be employed to raise capital for the parent company or the subsidiary being carved out. By offering shares in the subsidiary through an IPO, companies can access public capital markets and generate funds to fuel growth initiatives, repay debts, invest in research and development, or pursue strategic acquisitions. Capital generation through carve-outs can strengthen the financial position of both the parent company and the newly created entity.

5. Entrepreneurial Culture and Accountability

Carve-outs can foster an entrepreneurial culture within the carved-out entities. By creating separate management teams and governance structures, companies empower these entities to take ownership of their operations, strategies, and outcomes. This increased accountability and autonomy can drive innovation, agility, and a sense of ownership among employees, leading to enhanced performance and long-term sustainability.

6. Strategic Partnerships or Alliances

Carve-outs can also facilitate strategic partnerships or alliances between the parent company and the carved-out entity or other external organizations. By separating a specific business unit, companies can enter into partnerships or collaborations with industry leaders, complementing each other’s strengths and resources. Such partnerships can result in shared expertise, expanded market reach, and the ability to leverage synergies for mutual benefit.
These objectives highlight the multifaceted nature of carve-outs and how they can serve as a strategic tool for companies to optimize operations, unlock value, focus their efforts, generate capital, foster entrepreneurship, and forge strategic partnerships. However, it’s important for companies to assess their specific circumstances, conduct thorough planning, and execute carve-outs with careful consideration to achieve the desired objectives successfully.

Understanding the Carve-Out Process:

The carve-out strategy involves separating a subsidiary or business unit from its parent company, transforming it into a standalone entity. Through this transition, the newly formed organization gains its own board of directors and financial statements, enabling it to operate independently. Although the parent company usually maintains a controlling interest, it also provides strategic support and resources to ensure the success of the carved-out business. Unlike a spin-off, the parent company receives a cash inflow as a result of the carve-out, further enhancing its financial position.

What makes a carve out so technically complex?

Basically, there are many areas to consider. There are often multiple interfaces and cross-links to previous or subsequent systems that also need to be taken into account. In addition, proper data separation requires IT to be familiar with the relations and structures of the tables in the database. This requires a deep understanding of the database and tables. In addition, there are other issues, such as data protection, which must also be taken into account – the keyword being intended use.

The Impact of Carve-Outs on Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are strategic transactions that often involve the consolidation of companies to achieve synergies, enhance market presence, or drive growth. However, within the realm of M&A, another noteworthy strategy emerges – the carve-out. A carve-out refers to the process of divesting a specific business unit or division from a larger organization to operate independently or be acquired by another entity. This article explores the impact of carve-outs on M&A activities, shedding light on how this strategy can yield unique advantages and challenges.

The Advantages of Carve-Outs in M&A
Carve-outs introduce a range of advantages in the M&A landscape. Firstly, they enable companies to focus on their core competencies by shedding non-core assets, which can lead to increased operational efficiency and profitability. Additionally, carve-outs offer the opportunity to unlock hidden value within a business unit that might be overlooked within a larger conglomerate. This value realization can be particularly appealing to investors and acquirers.

Furthermore, carve-outs facilitate the strategic alignment of resources. By divesting a non-core business, companies can allocate resources more effectively to their core operations, driving growth and innovation. Additionally, carve-outs can attract specialized investors who are specifically interested in the divested business’s unique offerings.

What questions should be addressed before executing a carve out?

Before starting the project, it is best to create a to-do list and use it to develop a project plan to better track progress.

How can a carve out project be organized?

Organizing a carve-out project requires a systematic and strategic approach to ensure its success. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively organize a carve-out project
What significance will carve outs have in the future?
In the context of technological change, globalization, digitalization as well as restructuring and adaptation to new market conditions, the importance of carve outs is more likely to increase than to decrease. Above a certain company size, companies are continuously confronted with such tasks and have set up their own departments for this purpose.
How can AvenDATA support such a project?
We have been specializing in data archiving for over 15 years. This can be the case due to carve outs as well as for reasons of complete system shutdown. A proven and standardized archiving process ensures successful project implementation. Approximately 180 specialists work daily on the implementation of global archiving projects with the highest understanding of database as well as database structures. The approach as well as the software is certified. In addition to the proven approach, we have also developed the right tools for such projects. These tools enable us to automate and consequently accelerate project implementation.

In which industries does AvenDATA have experience with carve outs?

Basically, we operate across industries and internationally. We have already carried out a large number of carve out projects in the banking, insurance, automotive, pharmaceutical and energy sectors. You are welcome to get a first overview of our references on our homepage. If you are interested, we will also be happy to establish personal contact for an exchange of ideas.
There is no one way to carry out a carve out, as each carve out depends on the individual requirements of the company. But there are procedures and tools that have proven themselves over the years for such projects. Our team of experts will support you in your project from the project approach to the completion of the archive. Do you have such a use case? Then we are the right company for you.
FAQ About Carve out

A carve out refers to the process of selling companies or business units. When companies decide to sell companies or business units, this is known as a carve out. 

A company carve-out refers to the strategic process of separating a specific business unit, division, or set of assets from a parent company to create a distinct and independent entity. This separation can be achieved through various methods such as spin-offs, equity carve-outs, or sell-offs. Carve-outs are typically undertaken to enhance operational efficiency, focus on core competencies, unlock value, and provide the separated entity with more flexibility and strategic opportunities.
Carve-outs involve separating a business unit or assets to create a separate entity. Examples include Hewlett-Packard (HP) spinning off its electronic measurement business as Agilent Technologies, and General Electric (GE) conducting an IPO of Synchrony Financial to create an independent consumer finance company. These carve-outs allowed the parent companies to focus on core businesses while providing the new entities with market-specific opportunities.
The types of carve outs include spin-offs, equity carve outs, asset carve outs, management buyouts (MBOs), and joint ventures/strategic partnerships.
Carve outs provide strategic focus, value creation, flexibility, access to capital, partnership opportunities, and foster an entrepreneurial culture.
Carve outs are technically complex due to multiple interfaces, database structures, data protection, and ensuring intended use. Considerations for a company carve-out include multiple interfaces, cross-links, and data separation. IT expertise in database relations and structures is essential. Data protection and intended use are also important factors to consider.