External Publications

Your Alliances Are Too Stable

Alliances play a major role in almost every industry—from airlines to oil exploration, from pharmaceuticals to semiconductors.

In fact, we’ve found that the typical corporation relies on alliances for 15% to 20% of its total revenues, assets, or income. While some alliances are highly successful—Airbus, Cingular, and Visa International, for instance—many have a less-than-stellar track record. The overall success rate of alliances hovers near 50%, and the average life span of a joint venture is just five to seven years. It’s no wonder executives complain about their inherent instability. But, in fact, they’ve got it backward; most alliances are actually too stable for their own good.

Read the full article originally published in the Harvard Business Review.

About the Authors

David Ernst

David Ernst is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura based in Washington, DC with more than 35 years of experience advising on strategy, transactions, restructuring, and governance matters. David is recognized as a global expert in the field of joint ventures. He has advised dealmakers and senior client executives across a range of industries, including oil and gas, chemicals, metals and mining, semiconductors, consumer goods, and health care. During his career, he has advised on more than 250 venture transactions in 33 countries, involving more than $300 billion in value, and has also served more than 100 existing joint ventures on governance and restructuring.

James Bamford

James Bamford is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura based in Washington, DC. He joined Ankura with the firm’s 2020 acquisition of Water Street Partners, which he co-founded in 2008. Water Street Partners has been independently ranked as the number one global advisor on joint ventures since 2017. Prior to Water Street, he was global co-lead of the Joint Venture & Alliance Practice at McKinsey & Company.

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