Sell-off or shut-down? Alliance portfolio diversity and two types of high tech firms' exit

O. Bruyaka, R. DURAND

Strategic Organization

February 2012, vol. 10, n°1, pp.7-30

Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: alliance portfolio diversity biotechnology exit high tech firms sell-off shut-down

Alliance portfolio diversity (APD) ' defined as differences between firms' types of alliance partners (i.e. horizontal, upstream, and downstream) ' is a strategic determinant of firm survival. This article analyzes APD in the context of high tech firms who rely on various partners to access complementary resources and secure their business survival, and argues that APD has different impacts on two main types of exit ' sell-off and shut-down ' which have been combined in previous research. Findings from a comprehensive study of French biotech firms from 1994 to 2002 show that the relationship between APD and shut-down is positive and linear whereas that between APD and sell-off is an inverted U-shaped. The article also finds evidence that the association between APD and firm exit mode is contingent on a firm's resources and capabilities. The implications for research and managerial practice are discussed.