Emilie Feldman

Emilie Feldman
  • Associate Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2018 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: corporate strategy, diversification, divestitures, firm scope, spinoffs, corporate governance, mergers & acquisitions

Links: CV

Overview

Emilie R. Feldman is an Associate Professor of Management (with tenure) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where she studied Economics and French Literature, and she received her MBA and DBA in Strategy from the Harvard Business School. Her dissertation won the Wyss Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research at the Harvard Business School and was a finalist for the Wiley-Blackwell Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Academy of Management. She received the Emerging Scholar Award from the Strategic Management Society in 2017 and was named one of the 40 Best Business School Professors Under the Age of 40 by Poets & Quants in 2019.

Emilie’s research focuses on corporate strategy and governance, with particular interests in the role that divestitures, spinoffs, and mergers and acquisitions play in corporate reconfiguration, the internal functioning of multi-business firms, and the impact that large shareholders have on strategic decision-making and outcomes. Her research has been published in top academic journals, such as the Strategic Management Journal, Strategy Science, Organization Science, the Academy of Management Journal, and the Academy of Management Review. Her scholarship has been recognized with numerous accolades, including the Best Conference Paper Award from the Strategic Management Society and two Distinguished Paper Awards from the Academy of Management. Her work has been featured extensively in popular press outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and Fortune.

Emilie teaches courses on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate strategy, and corporate governance in the undergraduate, MBA, law, and executive programs at Wharton and Penn. She received the Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching Award in 2017 and the Wharton Teaching Excellence Award in 2018, 2019, and 2020. She has served as an external consultant, expert witness, and collaborator to numerous corporations and professional services companies, including Google, Intuit, McKinsey, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom.

Emilie currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Strategic Management Journal, and she is on the Editorial Boards of Organization Science, the Academy of Management Journal, and the Strategic Management Review. She previously served as Chair of the Competitive Strategy Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society and on the Executive Committee of the STR Division of the Academy of Management.

 

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Research

  • Emilie Feldman and Arkadiy V. Sakhartov (2021), Prospective on Corporate Renewal, Strategic Management Review.

    Abstract: This essay introduces the Strategic Management Review Special Issue on Corporate Renewal. Following Hofer and Schendel (1978), we define corporate renewal as a type of strategic renewal that is concerned with the processes and outcomes of changes in the scope and resource deployments among a firm’s businesses. We introduce a three-part framework for corporate renewal that highlights the choice among various modes of corporate renewal, the different actors who can implement corporate renewal, and the processes that are involved in the execution of corporate renewal. We draw upon this organizing framework to categorize the essays contained in this volume and to outline potential directions for future research on corporate renewal.

  • Emilie Feldman, Restructuring and Divestitures. In Strategic Management: State of the Field and Its Future, edited by Irene Duhaime, Michael Hitt, and Marjorie Lyles, (Oxford University Press, 2021)

    Abstract: Divestitures are major corporate restructuring transactions that narrow firm boundaries by removing one or more of a company’s businesses, subsidiaries, or divisions. Globally, divestitures account for about 30-40% of overall deal-making activity and create more than double the shareholder value of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), their expansionary counterparts. Yet, restructuring and divestitures have been relatively understudied in the field of management. In this chapter, I present an agenda for research into the phenomena of restructuring and divestitures by surveying past and current literature about them and laying out some productive directions for future research in this domain. The core insight to emerge from this chapter is that although divestitures are often seen as reactive solutions to problems within organizations, these transactions are and should be viewed by managers as proactive, strategic tools that have the potential to create significant value for the companies that undertake them.

  • Emilie Feldman and Arkadiy V. Sakhartov (2021), Resource Redeployment and Divestiture as Strategic Alternatives, Organization Science, forthcoming.

    Abstract: What should the managers of a multi-business firm do when their company’s resources are not used profitably? Research on redeployment proposes that managers should withdraw those resources from the business where they are underutilized and switch them to a business where they can be used more profitably, whereas the literature on divestiture advocates that managers should divest the business containing those resources. In this study, we investigate the factors that lead managers to choose resource redeployment over divestiture as a mode of exit, and vice versa. Using a formal model, we establish that the two exit modes act as intertemporal substitutes, whereby redeployment dominates for earlier exits but divestiture dominates for later exits. Although both redeployment and divestiture are inversely related to their implementation costs, redeployment costs amplify the effect of divestiture costs on the likelihood of exit, and divestiture costs amplify the effect of redeployment costs on the likelihood of exit. Finally, we derive a series of results that show that disregarding one of these two exit options as a strategic alternative to the other may lead to misspecifications of empirical models that seek to predict the likelihood of redeployment, divestiture, or exit. Overall, our work contributes to the corporate strategy literature by uniting two streams of research that have largely remained disparate, yet whose insights have significant implications for each other.

  • Emilie Feldman and Exequiel Hernandez (2021), Synergy in Mergers and Acquisitions: Typology, Lifecycles, and Value, Academy of Management Review, forthcoming.

    Abstract: Value in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) derives from the synergistic combination of an acquirer and a target. We advance the existing conceptualization of synergies in three ways. First, we develop a theoretically-motivated, parsimonious typology of five distinct sources of synergy based on two underlying dimensions: the level of analysis at which valuable activities occur and the orientation by which those activities are governed. The typology uncovers three novel synergy sources (relational, network, and non-market) arising from acquisition-induced changes in firms’ external cooperative environments, and classifies two other well-known synergies (internal and market power). Second, we introduce the concept of synergy lifecycles to explore how the timing of initial realization and the duration of gains vary across the five synergies, based on differences in the post-merger integration required and in the control the acquirer has over the assets and activities combined by the merger. Third, we consider how the synergy types interact, yielding co-synergies when they complement each other and dis-synergies when they substitute for one other. This enables us to expand the traditional conceptualization of the total value created by M&A as the sum of each of the synergy types, their co-synergies, and their dis-synergies.

  • Emilie Feldman (2021), The Corporate Parenting Advantage, Revisited, Strategic Management Journal, 42 (1), pp. 114-143.

    Abstract: This paper investigates the corporate parenting advantage, the extent to which corporate parents improve the performance of their subsidiaries. Despite the importance of this concept for corporate strategy, researchers have yet to quantify it empirically. I measure the corporate parenting advantage by comparing the performance of utilities that were legally classified into one of two types of holding companies: regulated holding companies, which faced limits on their ability to parent, and exempt holding companies, which did not. I find that observationally similar utilities that were owned by exempt holding companies outperform utilities that were owned by regulated holding companies, and that this performance differential attenuates once the legal restrictions on parenting were lifted. These results provide the first large‐scale empirical evidence of the corporate parenting advantage.

  • Emanuele L. M. Bettinazzi and Emilie Feldman (2020), Stakeholder Orientation and Divestiture Activity, Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming.

    Abstract: We conceptualize divestitures as a costly alternative to the internal resolution of conflicts among stakeholders, albeit one that avoids the more costly liquidation of the firm. In firms that have lower stakeholder orientation (defined as the extent to which management focuses attention on and integrates the interests of multiple stakeholders in its decision-making), divestitures will be less costly than the internal resolution of stakeholder conflicts, while the opposite will be true in firms that have higher stakeholder orientation. Consistent with this argument, we document a negative relationship between stakeholder orientation and divestiture activity, using a unique dateset of 909 U.S.-based, publicly-listed firms from 2002 to 2015. This negative relationship is more pronounced for selloffs than for spinoffs, for selloffs of businesses that are unrelated to or located far from the divesting firm, and for selloffs to acquirers that are not alliance partners of divesting firms. The core contribution of this paper is to treat different types of divestitures as increasingly costly responses to conflicts among stakeholders, thereby populating the theoretical middle ground between negotiated adaptations of firms’ governance structures and total firm failure. In so doing, this paper contributes to research at the intersection of stakeholder theory and corporate strategy.

  • Emilie Feldman (2020), Corporate Strategy: Past, Present, and Future, Strategic Management Review, 1 (1), pp. 179-206.

    Abstract: This essay reflects on the development of corporate strategy as a field of research, seeking to accomplish three main objectives. First, I position corporate strategy within the broader field of strategy research. I argue that because corporate strategy addresses the conceptually distinct question of how managers set and oversee the scope of their firms, scholars in this domain require a unique organizing framework for analyzing it. Second, I offer such a framework, which disaggregates the different topics and phenomena that corporate strategy scholars study into three categories: intra-organizational, inter-organizational, and extra-organizational. Third, I use this framework to lay out an agenda for future research in corporate strategy, as well as some ideas for linking research more closely to practice and policy-making. Given the significance of corporate strategy from academic, practical, and regulatory standpoints, my hope is that this essay will chart a productive course forward for scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers alike.

  • Emilie Feldman, Raffi Amit, Belén Villalonga (2019), Family Firms and the Stock Market Performance of Acquisitions and Divestitures, Strategic Management Journal, 40 (5), pp. 757-780.

    Abstract: This paper explores the stock market performance of acquisitions and divestitures where both, one, or neither of the companies in the transaction are family firms. We find that acquirer shareholder returns are highest when family firms buy businesses from non-family firm divesters, especially when family CEO acquirers buy businesses from non-family CEO divesters. Additionally, divester shareholder returns are highest when family firms sell businesses to non-family firm acquirers, especially when family CEO divesters sell businesses to non-family CEO acquirers. These findings reveal that it is important to consider the characteristics of both the acquiring and divesting firms when analyzing acquisition and divestiture performance, and that the expected gains to family firm acquisitions and divestitures are driven by transactions in which the counterparties are non-family firms.

  • Rui de Figueiredo, Emilie Feldman, Evan Rawley (2019), The Costs of Refocusing: Evidence from Hedge Fund Closures during the Financial Crisis, Strategic Management Journal, 40 (8), pp. 1268-1290.

    Abstract: This paper investigates the costs of corporate scope reduction (“refocusing”). Using data on hedge fund firms that were quasi-exogenously driven to close funds during the 2007-2009 financial crisis, we find evidence that refocusing imposes meaningful economic costs on firms. To better understand the mechanisms behind this result, we disaggregate refocusing costs along two dimensions: the degree of relatedness between the business that was closed and its sister divisions, and the duration of time over which the costs persist. The results suggest that refocusing imposes meaningful, yet transitory, adjustment costs on firms, and destroys synergies when related businesses are closed, creating more persistent costs. Accordingly, our work contributes to the corporate strategy literature by characterizing and evaluating the costs of refocusing.

  • James McGlinch and Emilie Feldman (Working), Intra-Shift Information Costs: Transition Services Agreements in Corporate Spinoffs.

Teaching

Past Courses

  • MGMT249 - MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

    This interactive, applied, and case-based course explores the various modes of corporate development available to managers to drive firm growth and change, including alliances, outsourcing, corporate venturing, and particularly mergers and acquisitions. The objectives are three-fold: (1) to arm the student with a set of tools to facilitate the selection of the appropriate growth strategy in a given situation; (2) to provide insights as to how to manage partnerships like alliances, outsourcing, and corporate venturing; and, (3) to develop a comprehensive framework for executing M&As, from initiation to implementation. The emphasis is on strategic and operational aspects of these transactions, rather than financial considerations. Please note that you must fulfill the prerequisites in order to enroll in this class.

  • MGMT721 - CORP DEV: MERG & ACQUIS

    This interactive, applied, and case-based course explores the various modes of corporate development available to managers to drive firm growth and change, including alliances, outsourcing, corporate venturing, and particularly mergers and acquisitions. The objectives are three-fold: (1) to arm the student with a set of tools to facilitate the selection of the appropriate growth strategy in a given situation; (2) to provide insights as to how to manage partnerships like alliances, outsourcing, and corporate venturing; and, (3) to develop a comprehensive framework for executing M&As, from initiation to implementation. The emphasis is on strategic and operational aspects of these transactions, rather than financial considerations. Please note that you must fulfill the prerequisites in order to enroll in this class.

  • MGMT891 - ADVANCED STUDY-SMGT

  • MGMT897 - GLOBAL MODULAR COURSE A

Awards and Honors

  • Wharton Teaching Excellence Award, The Wharton School, 2018-2020
  • Finalist, Best Proposal Award for Rigor in Research, Competitive Strategy Interest Group, Strategic Management Society Annual Meeting, 2020
  • Finalist, Best Paper Award, Corporate Strategy Interest Group, Strategic Management Society Annual Meeting, 2020
  • Nominee, Best Paper Prize, Strategic Management Society Annual Meeting, 2020
  • Best Paper Award, Corporate and International Strategy Track, STR Division, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2020
  • Best Paper Proceedings, STR Division, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2020
  • Academy of Management Journal Best Reviewer Award, 2019
  • 40 Best Business School Professors Under the Age of 40, Poets & Quants, 2019
  • Emerging Scholar Award, Strategic Management Society, 2017
  • Distinguished Paper Award, Business Policy and Strategy Division, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2017
  • Best Paper Proceedings, Business Policy and Strategy Division, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2017
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Undergraduate Division, The Wharton School, 2017
  • Winner, Best Paper Prize, Strategic Management Society Annual Meeting, 2016
  • Best Paper Proceedings, Business Policy and Strategy Division, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2016
  • Strategic Management Journal Outstanding Editorial Review Board Member Award, 2015
  • Distinguished Paper Award, Business Policy and Strategy Division, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2012
  • Best Paper Proceedings, Business Policy and Strategy Division, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2012
  • Finalist, Wiley Blackwell Outstanding Dissertation Award in Business Policy and Strategy, Academy of Management, 2011
  • Outstanding Reviewer Award, BPS Division, Academy of Management, 2011
  • Finalist, William H. Newman Award (for the best single-authored paper based on a dissertation completed in the past three years), Academy of Management, 2011
  • Wyss Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research, Harvard Business School, 2010
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Harvard Business School, 2009
  • Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Derek Bok Center, Harvard University, 2008
  • High Distinction, General Exam, Harvard Business School, 2005
  • Duesenberry Award, Economics Department, Harvard University, 2004
  • Hutchison Prize, Winthrop House, Harvard College, 2004

In the News

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Latest Research

Emilie Feldman and Arkadiy V. Sakhartov (2021), Prospective on Corporate Renewal, Strategic Management Review.
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In the News

How Activist Investor-led Divesting Pushes Up Valuations

New research from Wharton's Emilie Feldman shows that when it comes to divestitures, activists push for changes that most often create shareholder value.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2/25/2019
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