The All-Season Investor: Successful Strategies for Every Stage in the Business Cycle

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  1. Peloton’s bikes may be stationary. But as CEO John Foley tells us, the company is on the move.
  2. [PDF] The All-Season Investor: Successful Strategies for Every Stage in the Business Cycle Popular
  3. Business Cycle Phases: Defining Recession, Depression, Expansion
  4. [PDF] The All-Season Investor: Successful Strategies for Every Stage in the Business Cycle Popular

This gives it an optionlike strategic upside beyond whatever financial returns it generates. Exploring the potential of such a market is often difficult for a company focused on serving its current market. Investing in a start-up willing and able to enter this uncharted territory—selling real products to real customers—provides information that could never be gleaned from the hypothetical questions of a market research survey.

If the market seems to hold potential, the investing company may choose to shift its course. Thus, while the immediate benefits, if any, of such investments are financial, the ultimate return may result from exercising the strategic option.

Peloton’s bikes may be stationary. But as CEO John Foley tells us, the company is on the move.

A strong operational link between a company and its start-up can take various forms. It may mean sharing technology, as with the start-ups spun off from Lucent Technologies. Lucent then invests in those companies, typically on its own in the first round of financing but with other investors later on.


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The company is mainly looking for a profitable return on these investments. But the investments may also hold the potential for significant future strategic returns.

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Indeed, three of the more than 30 technology spin-offs created so far by the New Ventures Group have been reacquired by Lucent. Ultimately, those technologies were deemed strategically valuable to the company, either because the market had changed or because the technology had progressed further than had been expected.

One such spin-off is Lucent Digital Video, which created analog-to-digital converters that enable audio and video content to move on analog networks. It soon became clear that digital technology would unlock significant growth for Lucent, so it chose to reacquire the company. If the New Ventures Group had not created and financed this spin-off, this key strategic benefit might not have become apparent. Or the links might take the form of product use.

[PDF] The All-Season Investor: Successful Strategies for Every Stage in the Business Cycle Popular

In , Intel invested in a start-up called Berkeley Networks. Berkeley used existing Intel processors to make low-cost switches and routers for communications networks—a new market for Intel products. At the time, Intel was happy to see its products used in this rather novel way.

As Intel performed its due diligence on its investment, though, it began to see the outlines of a possible strategy shift, one that might result in the widespread use of its products in network switches. After some sharp internal disagreements—and after the value of Berkeley Networks began to grow—Intel decided to adapt its strategy to pursue this opportunity, culminating in the Intel Internet Exchange Architecture, launched in The investment in Berkeley Networks helped Intel identify a promising opportunity more quickly than it might have otherwise.

It is important to let these options lapse and settle for whatever financial returns have been earned. Thus, managing these investments requires balancing financial discipline with strategic potential. Many companies err by throwing good money after bad. Partnering with private VC funds, and following their lead, is one way to impose financial discipline on the process. Consequently, the corporation lacks the means to actively advance its own business through these investments.

And despite the perception of some companies that they enjoy technology or market knowledge that gives them advantages over other investors, the recent flight of corporate VC suggests otherwise. Thus, in passive venturing, a corporation is just another investor subject to the vagaries of financial returns in the private equity market.

One corporate best practice in the s and s involved identifying diversification opportunities in order to smooth out volatility in revenue and profits. Companies thought that this practice would appeal to shareholders and would command higher stock prices. But modern financial portfolio theory pointed out a critical flaw in this thinking: Shareholders could diversify their own portfolios and did not need corporations to do it for them.


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Indeed, such diversification is no longer viewed as a positive benefit for shareholders, and many conglomerates actually trade at a diversification discount rather than at a premium. A similar situation arises in what we call passive corporate VC investing. But shareholders have plenty of other ways to invest in early-stage companies and can seek such prospective gains on their own, without assistance from a corporate VC program. Companies can justify VC investments if they add value for their shareholders in ways that the shareholders cannot do themselves. But although companies might argue that their core businesses give them superior knowledge of technologies and markets and thus advantages over other investors in identifying start-ups likely to deliver healthy financial returns, evidence of this is scarce.

When the value of its investments collapsed last year, no potential strategic benefit remained—as would have been the case with an emergent investment—to compensate for the financial losses. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist.

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Diversification: The Medicine for Sleepless Nights. Securities in the Asset Allocation Mix.

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Business Cycle Phases: Defining Recession, Depression, Expansion

Mutual Funds. The Power of Compounding. The Business Cycle and Asset Allocation. But its presentation tion, reconciling the complex demands of multiple stake- reflects a more academic, rather than managerial audience. Quotes p. Related Papers. Insights on strategic management practices in Nepal. By Binod Shrestha. The Strategy Planning Process. By Becky Agwanda. Strategic management of technology - A glimpse of literature.

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