Beware divesting core business

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A rare example of clear and useful academic research from Emilie Feldman at Harvard [but treat it with care – see below]. Emilie “investigates “legacy” divestitures, the sale or spinoff of a company’s historical core business. Firms appear to divest their legacy businesses within the context of larger efforts to reshape their identities. I find that operating performance deteriorates in the years following legacy divestitures, and this decline appears to be linked to a loss of intangible resources embedded in the ...

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Aims – growth, survival …

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I made a strong case in a previous post that strategy research should have been asking how strong firms grow cash flows, not deliver profit ratios. I had two main push-backs – 1. is growth relevant in present conditions? – 2. survival is really all that matters. 

The first is easily dealt with – stronger cash flow ‘growth’ than rivals can of course imply less decline when everyone is going backwards .. would you rather cash-flows fell by ...

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More on growth vs. ROIC

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One challenge I got from the academics on the issue of strategy tools’ usefulness was whether growth is still a relevant question in these recessionary times.

Perhaps my original post to them was not clear enough.  I meant to say that, as I understand it, investors are interested in the present value of future cash-flows – not growth per se. There is no point in simply growing market share or revenues if it does not ultimately improve future cash flows ...

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Update on the troubles with strategy

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Here’s my latest msg to the B School academics [remember the point of this is to get some useful strategy methods for executives and consultants]. Will let you all know what response I get.

” …

Have had many useful answers on this. There seems little dissent that:

  • we have a problem with current strategy methods not being valued by the people who are supposed to use them,
  • … which implies we have little useful theory [notably that seeking explanations for profitability is ...
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Why has Amazon.com been so unsuccessful?

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The SMS conference reminds me of a long-standing puzzle. We have known for decades that investors value growth in earnings – because they either get rising dividends or a rising stock price they can sell on. Profitability – return on sales or on assets – is only of interest insofar as it enables future earnings growth. So how come the strategy field is obsessed with ‘explaining’ why some firms are more profitable than others, when investors aren’t interested and management does ...

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