Entrepreneurial exit by acquisition: the impact of heterogeneity in products and technology portfolio and marketing capabilities

Annelies S.A. Bobelyn, Bart Clarysse, Mike Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper aims to study the effect of two important marketing decisions on the extent of value capturing by the firm owners. First, it addresses the debate whether acquirers of young technology-based firms value targets that span multiple technology and market categories indicating multiples options for growth or prefer more narrowly defined targets with a clear product and market focus. Second, it investigates to what extent the use of alliances for marketing purposes contributes to value capturing and how they moderate the effect of diversification of technology and marketing.

To estimate the acquisition price, a linear regression model is used, including a Heckman correction controlling for the likelihood of being acquired. The hypotheses are tested in a sample of British venture capital backed firms.

Firms that convey focus in their marketing activities (either because they focus on a few market categories or because they rely on downstream alliance to market their inventions) receive higher valuations at acquisition than those that diversify. Further, also the size of the product portfolio is negatively correlated to the acquisition price. Finally, the results reveal that firms with a broad patent portfolio can reduce the negative effects on firm value by engaging in less downstream alliances.

This paper advances existing research on exit strategies for entrepreneurial firms by considering factors explaining acquisition prices, instead of acquisition probabilities. Further, it adds the categorization research by demonstrating how acquirers respond to complex combinations of technology and market categories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-59
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2021


  • Acquisitions
  • Entrepreneurial exit
  • Entrepreneurial marketing
  • Firm value
  • Networks


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