A carve-out in finance refers to the strategic process in which a company separates a specific division or business unit from its overall operations, typically in order to create a separate entity. This new entity is then typically spun-off, sold, or taken public, allowing the parent company to focus on its core business operations. Carve-outs are often employed as a means to unlock the value of an underperforming or non-core asset, attract investors, or optimize capital allocation.


Carve-outs can take various forms, including the creation of a new standalone company or the sale of a minority stake in the spun-off division. The separation can be accomplished through different mechanisms, such as an initial public offering (IPO), private equity investment, or a complete divestiture. Companies may undertake a carve-out for several reasons. Firstly, it allows them to streamline operations and concentrate resources on core competencies. By isolating a specific division, they can devote more attention and resources to its growth and development.

Additionally, carve-outs can create shareholder value by unlocking the potential of an overlooked division. Frequently, a subsidiary or business unit within a larger organization may possess unique assets, technology, or market potential that is not adequately reflected in the parent company’s valuation. By carving out the division, the company aims to clarify its individual value proposition and attract investors who may recognize its distinct potential.

Furthermore, a carve-out can enhance strategic agility. By separating a business unit, a company gains the flexibility to pursue different growth and capital strategies for each entity. The parent company can focus on its core operations, while the carved-out division can pursue new opportunities, partnerships, or operational efficiencies tailored to its specific goals and market dynamics.

Carve-outs can also be initiated as part of a broader corporate restructuring to improve financial performance or address regulatory requirements. In such cases, separating a division may facilitate more focused oversight, better management of risk, or compliance with regulatory frameworks.

It is important to note that carve-outs can be complex transactions, requiring careful planning and execution. Factors such as financial reporting, tax implications, intellectual property rights, and employee transition need to be considered and addressed to ensure a smooth separation process.

Examples in Practice:

Carve-outs have been successfully employed by numerous companies across different industries. One notable example is the spin-off of PayPal from eBay in 2015. Recognizing the potential for growth and profitability, eBay carved out its payment services division, PayPal, into an independent publicly traded company. This allowed PayPal to focus on its digital payment solutions, enabling it to innovate more rapidly and pursue strategic partnerships while eBay concentrated on its core e-commerce business.

In the financial services industry, carve-outs are also prevalent. Bank of America’s carve-out of its asset management division, BlackRock, serves as an illustrative example. This carve-out, executed through an initial public offering, resulted in the creation of a widely recognized and successful asset management company that could operate independently, attract new clients, and pursue a distinct investment strategy.


A carve-out is a strategic process in which a company separates a specific division or business unit, often through methods such as spin-offs or sales, to create a separate entity. This allows the parent company to focus on its core operations and unlock value from underperforming or non-core assets. Carve-outs provide opportunities for growth, investor attraction, strategic agility, and improved financial performance. However, they also involve complex considerations and require meticulous planning to achieve successful outcomes.

This glossary is made for freelancers and owners of small businesses. If you are looking for exact definitions you can find them in accounting textbooks.

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