As the result of stockholder pressure, RJR Nabisco is considering spinning off its food division. You have been asked to estimate the beta for the division, and decide to do so by obtaining the beta of comparable publicly traded firms. The average beta of comparable publicly traded firms is 0.95, and the average debt/equity ratio of these firms is 35%. The division is expected to have a debt ratio of 25%. The marginal corporate tax rate is 36%.
a. What is the beta for the division?
b. Would it make any difference if you knew that RJR Nabisco had a much higher fixed cost structure than the comparable firms used here?