Emilie Feldman

Emilie Feldman
  • Associate Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2018 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

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

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.

Emilie’s research focuses on corporate strategy and governance, with particular interests in the internal functioning of multi-business firms and the role that divestitures, spinoffs, and mergers and acquisitions play in corporate reconfiguration. Her research has been published in top academic journals, including the Strategic Management Journal, Strategy Science, Organization Science, and the Academy of Management Journal. She has received numerous scholarly awards, including the Emerging Scholar Award and the Best Conference Paper Award from the Strategic Management Society as well as two Distinguished Paper Awards from the Academy of Management. Additionally, her research 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 currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Strategic Management Journal, and she is on the Editorial Boards of Organization Science and the Academy of Management Journal. She is the Chair of the Competitive Strategy Interest Group in the Strategic Management Society.

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. She has also consulted and served as a speaker to numerous practitioner audiences.

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Research

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

    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.

  • Emilie Feldman (2019), Corporate Strategy: Past, Present, and Future, Strategic Management Review, forthcoming.

    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, Raphael (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.

  • John C. Eklund and Emilie Feldman (Working), Understanding the Relationship between Divestitures and Invention: The Moderating Role of Organization Design.

  • Emilie Feldman, Claudine Gartenberg, Julie Wulf (2018), Pay Inequality and Corporate Divestitures, Strategic Management Journal, 39 (11), pp. 2829-2858.

    Abstract: This paper analyzes how pay inequality influences divestiture decisions. Using detailed data on division manager compensation and divestiture activity, this study documents that firms are more likely to divest divisions when pay inequality among division managers is higher. To address potential bias in the measurement of pay inequality, we construct a “synthetic” measure that varies with regional and industry pay shocks that differentially affect division managers within firms. Post hoc analyses reveal that social comparison appears to explain, at least partially, the relationship between unequal pay and divestiture. These findings support the notion that pay inequality can be an important predictor of firm boundaries. More generally, they suggest that unequal pay may have significant strategic consequences as firms increasingly adopt performance-based compensation to motivate employees.

  • Siwen Chen and Emilie Feldman (2018), Activist-Impelled Divestitures and Shareholder Value, Strategic Management Journal, 39 (10), pp. 2726-2744.

    Abstract: This study analyzes how the divestitures that are impelled by activist investors in their campaigns against public corporations affect shareholder value. Using hand-collected data on the activist campaigns that were launched against and the divestitures that were undertaken by Fortune 500 companies between 2007 and 2015, we find that activist-impelled divestitures are more positively associated with immediate and longer-term measures of shareholder value than comparable manager-led divestitures. These performance differences persist for nearly two years after the completion of these deals. Our results empirically test the idea that firms with agency problems unlock shareholder value when they divest, and support the notion that activist investors fulfill an important external governance function. Our work also opens new research opportunities and offers practical implications as well.

  • Emanuele L. M. Bettinazzi and Emilie Feldman (Working), Stakeholder Orientation and Divestiture Activity.

  • Emilie Feldman and Arkadiy V. Sakhartov (Working), The Strategic Choice between Resource Redeployment and Divestiture.

  • Emilie Feldman (Working), The Corporate Parenting Effect, Revisited.

  • Emilie Feldman and Metin Sengul (Working), Identification in Strategy and Management Research.

Teaching

Current Courses

  • MGMT721 - Corp Dev: Merg & Acquis

    This course explores the role of mergers and acquisitions and alternative methods of corporate development in advancing the strategies of operating business. Emphasis is on the way companies use acquisitions to alter business mixes; seize opportunities in new products, technologies and markets; enhance competitive positioning; adjust to changing economics, and promote value-creating growth. Although the course will emphasize strategic acquisitions, it also will explore leveraged buy-outs and hostile financial acquisitions as well as their influence on corporate buyers. Please note that you must fulfil the prerequisites in order to enroll in this class.

    MGMT721001

  • MGMT897 - Global Modular Course A

    MGMT897404

  • WH 212 - Global Modular Course A: Design As Competitive Advantage: Portugal & Spain

    WH 212404

Past Courses

  • MGMT249 - MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

    This course explores the role of mergers and acquisitions and alternative methods of corporate development in advancing the strategies of operating business. Emphasis is on the way companies use acquisitions to alter business mixes; seize opportunities in new products, technologies and markets; enhance competitive positioning; adjust to changing economics, and promote value-creating growth. Although the course will emphasize strategic acquisitions, it also will explore leveraged buy-outs and hostile financial acquisitions as well as their influence on corporate buyers. Please note that you must fulfill the prerequisites in order to enroll in this class.

  • MGMT721 - CORP DEV: MERG & ACQUIS

    This course explores the role of mergers and acquisitions and alternative methods of corporate development in advancing the strategies of operating business. Emphasis is on the way companies use acquisitions to alter business mixes; seize opportunities in new products, technologies and markets; enhance competitive positioning; adjust to changing economics, and promote value-creating growth. Although the course will emphasize strategic acquisitions, it also will explore leveraged buy-outs and hostile financial acquisitions as well as their influence on corporate buyers. Please note that you must fulfil the prerequisites in order to enroll in this class.

  • MGMT897 - GLOBAL MODULAR COURSE A

Awards and Honors

  • 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

  • (Re)insurance Becomes a Magnet for Activists, The Insurance Insider - 04/02/2019
  • Activist-Impelled Divestitures and Shareholder Value, Knowledge@Wharton Business Radio - 02/05/2019
  • Investors Profit When Activists Demand Spin-Offs, Harvard Business Review - 01/18/2019
  • How Big Is Too Big? Two Tests that Reveal the True Cost of Owning Multiple Businesses, Wharton@Work - 07/02/2018
  • General Ejected: John Flannery gets down to business restructuring General Electric, The Economist - 06/27/2018
  • Judge Approves AT&T-Time Warner Merger, Yahoo! Finance - 06/12/2018
  • Possible GE Breakup Could Bring Better Days, Wall Street Journal - 01/17/2018
  • Creating Value through Divestitures: Here’s How, Wharton@Work - 10/03/2017
  • HP Inc. Surprises Wall Street, Outperforms Corporate Sibling, San Francisco Chronicle - 06/16/2017
  • Splitting the Babies: Billionaire Tries to Out-Spin DuPont CEO Ed Breen, the Breakup King, Philadelphia Inquirer - 06/11/2017
  • Yahoo Sale Could Still Draw Softbank, Alibaba, USA Today - 07/07/2016
  • Analysis: Companies Make Up, Then Break Up, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 05/27/2016
  • Dell-EMC’s New Name: Blunder or Brilliance?, Information Week - 05/05/2016
  • What Ugly Financial Markets Mean for Community’s Big Spinoff Plans, Modern Healthcare - 02/23/2016
  • Dysfunctional Symantec-Veritas Deal Sets New Low Bar for Mergers, San Francisco Chronicle - 02/11/2016
  • Will Xerox’s Spinoff Unlock Value for Investors?, Knowledge@Wharton - 02/10/2016
  • Interview about Yahoo! Spinoff, Knowledge@wharton Business Radio - 12/15/2015
  • What it’s all about: inside the Dow-DuPont merger, WHYY Radio Times - 12/14/2015
  • Yahoo’s Tax Focus Has Squandered Big Chance, San Francisco Chronicle - 12/14/2015
  • Industrial Giants DuPont, Dow Chemical Announce $130 Billion Merger, NPR - 12/11/2015
  • U.S. is the M&A Prom Queen, as Dealmaking Record Set, Investor's Business Daily - 12/09/2015
  • Is a Dow-DuPont Merger Good or Bad for U.S. Biz?, CBS MoneyWatch - 12/09/2015
  • Selling the Golden-Egg Goose, The New Yorker - 11/23/2015
  • ConAgra CEO Put His Stamp on the Company, and in a Hurry, Omaha World-Herald - 11/19/2015
  • Why Nikkei Is Betting Big on Digital Growth at the FT, Knowledge@Wharton - 07/29/2015
  • Interview about the Nikkei sale of the FT, Knowledge@Wharton Business Radio - 07/28/2015
  • The Dark Side of ‘Dual Directors’ in Corporate Spin-Offs, Knowledge@Wharton - 06/30/2015
  • DuPont, if Peltz Gets His Way, The News Journal - 03/20/2015
  • Barnes & Noble is Betting Slimmer Company Can Beat Amazon, The Street - 03/04/2015
  • How Barnes & Noble Can Recover from the Nook’s Downward Spiral, Knowledge@wharton - 12/11/2014
  • The Mergers and Acquisitions Cycle: Buy. Divide. Conquer, New York Times - 12/10/2014
  • Interview about Barnes & Noble – Nook, Knowledge@wharton Business Radio - 12/10/2014
  • Barnes & Noble Move May Signal a Spinoff, NPR Marketplace - 12/04/2014
  • Le Divorce, The New Yorker - 11/03/2014
  • HP and the Case for Corporate Spinoffs, Knowledge@wharton - 10/17/2014
  • Companies Seeing the Advantages in Spinoffs, New York Times - 10/15/2014
  • Interview about Hewlett-Packard Spinoff, Knowledge@wharton Business Radio - 10/08/2014
  • Allan Sloan’s Year in Review, CNN Money - 12/23/2013
  • Picture This: Kodak without its Film Business, Knowledge@wharton Today - 09/14/2012
  • Why Microsoft Nabbed the Nook, Knowledge@Wharton - 05/01/2012
  • Research Roundup: Homeowner Mobility, Divestitures and the Real Impact of FDI, Knowledge@Wharton - 12/07/2011
  • Homeowner Mobility, Divestitures, and the Real Impact of FDI, Knowledge@wharton - 12/07/2011
  • Netflix: Two Companies, Double the Headaches?, Knowledge@Wharton - 09/20/2011
  • Ernst & Young: Too Big to Fail?, Fortune - 12/21/2010
  • An Indictment against Ernst & Young? Maybe Not, Washington Post - 12/21/2010
  • KPMG Partners Lucked Out – Thanks to Enron & Arthur Andersen, Washington Post - 09/06/2005

Knowledge @ Wharton

Activity

Latest Research

Rui de Figueiredo, Emilie Feldman, Evan Rawley (2019), The Costs of Refocusing: Evidence from Hedge Fund Closures during the Financial Crisis, Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming.
All Research

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 - 2019/02/25
All News

Awards and Honors

Emerging Scholar Award, Strategic Management Society 2017
All Awards