We examine the relationship between value, ownership, and governance structures for a set of acquisitions by Australian companies over the period of 1994–2001. We find that the propensity to diversify increases with the equity ownership of firms' directors, whereas the composition of the board, the presence of block holders and their ownership does not materially affect the decision to diversify. Board size has a positive but weak impact on the tendency to diversify. We also find no significant negative wealth effects for the shareholders of diversifying firms, although in comparison the shareholders of non‐diversifying acquirers experience significantly positive upward revisions of firm values. Although method of payment influences acquirer returns, ownership and governance do not have any impact on announcement period returns. Our results support the notion that capital markets may consider the ownership and governance structures as exerting enough influence to overcome any costs imposed by diversification strategies, hence limiting value loss to the shareholders.