Paul Nary

Paul Nary
  • Assistant Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2017 Steinberg-Dietrich Hall
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: corporate strategy, M&A, corporate development, private equity, technology & innovation management, business & technology history

Links: CV


Paul Nary is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a strategy researcher who is interested in how firms reconfigure their resources, reshape their boundaries, and source capabilities externally. Dr. Nary’s research explores topics in corporate strategy, technology and innovation management, and the role and behavior of private equity firms in public markets. Dr. Nary currently serves on the Editorial Review Board of the Strategic Management Journal, and is a Research Committee member for the STR division of the Academy of Management. Dr. Nary was Strategic Management Society’s SRF Dissertation Scholar and an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota, where he conducted archival research at the Charles Babbage Institute. Dr. Nary is a recipient of multiple funding awards, including those from Wharton Dean’s Research Fund, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, and Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research. He is currently teaching Corporate Development, Mergers and Acquisitions (MGMT 721 and 249), and he used to teach the Strategy module in the core MBA management course: Managing the Emerging Enterprise (MGMT 612).

Prior to his academic career, Dr. Nary has worked for Intel Corporation, where his work spanned corporate venturing, new business development, mergers and acquisitions, and external technology collaborations. Before Intel, he worked for a boutique PE firm, a commercial real estate investment fund, and started two small businesses.

Dr. Nary completed his Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He also holds a Master’s degree from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and an M.B.A. and a B.S. in Finance from DePaul University.


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  • Paul Nary and Aseem Kaul (2021), Private Equity as an Intermediary in the Market for Corporate Assets, Academy of Management Review.

    Abstract: We examine the role of non-venture private equity (PE) firms as intermediaries in the market for corporate assets. We argue that in order to create and capture value by acquiring established businesses and selling them to corporate buyers, PE firms must possess at least one of three potential advantages: they must be able to identify businesses that are currently undervalued (valuation advantage), they must be able to enhance the intrinsic value of the business (governance advantage), or they must be able to match the business to a more synergistic corporate owner than is immediately available (timing advantage). We discuss why, and under what conditions, PE firms may thus have an advantage in buying, owning, and selling businesses, and derive a set of propositions predicting which targets PE firms are most likely to pursue. Our study thus offers a comprehensive yet contingent theory of non-venture private equity, developing an integrated value-based framework to explain this important and growing phenomenon. In doing so, we also offer new insights into the role of intermediaries in strategic factor markets, especially the market for the buying and selling of businesses.

  • Aseem Kaul, Paul Nary, Harbir Singh (2018), Who Does Private Equity Buy: Evidence on the Role of Private Equity from Buyouts of Divested Businesses, Strategic Management Journal, 30.

    Abstract: We examine the role of nonventure private equity firms in the market for divested businesses, comparing targets bought by such firms to those bought by corporate acquirers. We argue that a combination of vigilant monitoring, high‐powered incentives, patient capital, and business independence makes private equity firms uniquely suited to correcting underinvestment problems in public corporations, and that they will therefore systematically target divested businesses that are outside their parents’ core area, whose rivals invest more in long‐term strategic assets than their parents, and whose parents have weak managerial incentives both overall and at the divisional level. Results from a sample of 1,711 divestments confirm these predictions. Our study contributes to our understanding of private equity ownership, highlighting its advantage as an alternate governance form.

    Description: Private equity firms are often portrayed as destroyers of corporate value, raiding established companies in pursuit of short‐term gain. In contrast, we argue that private equity investors help to revitalize businesses by enabling investments in long‐term strategic resources and capabilities that they are better able to evaluate, monitor, and support than public market investors. Consistent with these arguments, we find that when acquiring businesses divested by public corporations, private equity firms are more likely to buy units outside the parent's core area, those whose peers invest more in R&D than their parents, and those whose parents have weak managerial incentives, especially at the divisional level. Thus, private equity firms systematically target those businesses that may fail to realize their full potential under public ownership.

  • Paul Nary (Work In Progress), Borrow and Buy: Complementarity and Substitutability of Acquirer’s Alliances and Technology Acquisitions.

  • Paul Nary and Aseem Kaul (Working), The Best of Both Modes: Using Transaction Portfolios to Capture Resource Complementarities.

  • Sunasir Dutta and Paul Nary (Work In Progress), People or Place? The Fungibility of Embeddedness in Entrepreneurial Ventures.

  • Paul Nary (Draft), Strategy, Technology, and Acquisitions: Through the Lens of Control Data Corporation in 1958-1972.

  • Paul Nary (Work In Progress), Networks, Alliances, Investments, and Acquisitions: Role of Social Embeddedness in Acquirer Performance.


Awards and Honors

  • Mack Institute Research Fellowship 2019 Recipient, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, 2019-2021
  • Wharton Dean’s Research Fund research proposal funding award, 2019-2021
  • Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research grant proposal award, 2019-2020
  • Mack Institute Research Fellowship 2018 Recipient, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, The Wharton School, 2018
  • Strategy Research Foundation (SRF) 2017-2018 Dissertation Scholar & Grant Recipient, Strategic Management Society, Chicago, IL, 2017
  • Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship 2017-2018, Office of Interdisciplinary Initiatives, University of Minnesota (Year-long academic fellowship with support of, and in residence at the Charles Babbage Institute & Center for the History of Information Technology), 2017
  • PhD Student Travel Fellowship Recipient, Carlson School of Management, 2015-2017
  • PhD Student Teaching Award Recipient, Carlson School of Management, 2015
  • Intel Labs Role Model, Divisional Recognition Award, Chandler, AZ, 2011
  • Tauber Institute for Global Operations Fellow, University of Michigan, 2010
  • Tauber Spotlight 2010 Scholarship Recipient (honorable mention), Tauber Institute for Global Operations, University of Michigan, 2010

In the News

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Latest Research

Paul Nary and Aseem Kaul (2021), Private Equity as an Intermediary in the Market for Corporate Assets, Academy of Management Review.
All Research

In the News

Finding the Virtue in Private Equity Firms

Many view private equity firms as villainous actors intent on the singular goal of profit. But new Wharton research provides better insight into the benefits of PE buyouts.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 12/18/2018
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Wharton Magazine

Finding Virtue in Private Equity

The industry’s investors often are portrayed as greedy corporate raiders, but a new study argues the opposite may be true.

Wharton Magazine - 04/19/2019