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on 3 October 2016
This long book had been on my reading list for some time but I finally bit the bullet and bought it. I'm glad I did! The authors' easy style transforms an intricate M&A transaction into something agreeable and accessible: no small feat considering key elements of the story turn on PIK securities ratios, the tax regime applicable to instalment notes and similar capital markets esoterica. This frames the human story of in-fighting among literally scores of dealmakers, bankers and lawyers (and their WAGs), each with their own role and backstory. The resulting mess is prodigious, entertaining and educational.
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on 14 July 2014
An incredible read that reminds us of the worst excesses of the 1980s. It charts the unimaginable progress of a a food brands company who merge with a bakery and then with a tobacco company who also have a number of food brands. They attempt a management buy out but the Wall St vultures soon start to circle. The excesses are incredible and the voices of the few good men are drowned out. It was the biggest takeover of its day and I'm not sure all of its lessons have been learned. A gripping story, well written - the cast list at the front is essential as so many people were involved in this epic narrative. I think I would have appreciated knowing just what each company was there for - I guess American readers would know which ones were banks, law firms etc but I had to figure it out as I went. An outstanding read for anyone interested in business
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on 17 September 2011
the leveraged buy out of rjr nabisco was, as far as i am aware, the largest of it's kind in the 1980's. this book details exactly what happened. what makes this book a great read is that it tells the reader exactly what happened. what i really like about this book is that it that it indirectly gives you an indepth study of the ceo of rjr nabisco at that time - ross johnson. if anyone wants career advice then this should be the guy you get advice from - the book explains how he rose to get to the top job in one of the largest brands in america at the time - and how he got the best from people... a good book, but in all fairness, incredibly heavy - could have been a hundred pages shorter...
2 people found this helpful
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on 18 December 2012
As someone who negotiates large deals for a living I was intrigued by the prospect of reading this book. I wasn't disappointed. The research is quite brilliant- I assume that it has been verified over the years but the author doesn't go overboard with technical dross. The character analysis is fascinating and the tale leads the reader through the deal with a deft touch which I thoroughly enjoyed. If you want to learn what motivates people in negotiations, read this.
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on 8 June 2011
This is an excellent narration of the attempt for what is now known as a leveraged buyout in the 1980's. In itself it is a fascinating tale. As an illustration of how greedy bankers are and how little value they add to society it is superb. As ever, senior management chase their own rewards and the rest of the workforce can but sit and watch. Rarely has so much been earned for so little value.
The book now has the benefit of a an afterword that tracks the main characters over the subsequent 20 years. Truly fascinating!
2 people found this helpful
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on 15 January 2018
great book love the story and give good insight about how trading industry works
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on 20 January 2016
by far the best book ever written on financial markets chicanery. great story that covers so many areas/people/companies. excellent writing. i would recommend this ahead of all other banking books.
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on 16 September 2014
This book has been on my Wish List for years, possibly ten years. I finally bought it. Wow! For a book published 24 years ago about financial shenanigans on Wall Street 25 years ago, with a bewildering cast of very unappealing American characters, it is absolutely gripping. A complete page-turner.
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on 22 December 2014
Interesting book for anyone with an interest in big corporate takeovers and venture capitalist investments. The inside view on the mentality of the people and the tricks and games of the worlds most greedy people is fascinating if not disturbing.
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on 24 April 2014
Brilliant insight into corporate America in the 80's if you read this you'll know why the banks keep crashing and the economy staggers from crisis to crisis. The numbers are mind-numbing and the manipulations at the cost of lives and jobs is scary.
One person found this helpful
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