Synopses & Reviews
is the story of the creation of Americaand#8217;s deal culture and the battle for control of Americaand#8217;s corporations. Told through the fascinating, complex, and often-flawed characters who created a new era, it begins as the and#145;60s are ending with the rise of the conglomerates, those vast assemblages of corporate assets. It rolls through the crisis-wracked and#145;70s and the birth of the hostile deal, then careens into the and#145;80s when the deal culture of mergers and acquisitions is truly unleashed, producing a Hobbesian corporate landscape that threatened the most formidable of corporations. The and#145;90s see backlash, retrenchment and rethinking. The new century brings bubbles and deregulation, ending in disaster. And following a quiet period after the financial crash of 2008, we are witnessing the full-throated battle once again as companies and peoplesand#8217; lives are moved around as casually as piece on a Monopoly game board.
Since the first hostile deal in 1975, mergers and acquisitions have unleashed powerful forces and set off a revolution in who controls and governs American corporations. The rise of the deal raiders ushered in a world where literally no company was safe. Year after year, blockbuster deals unfolded, each more spectacular or predatory than the next. Many were hostile, most were complicated, the majority were dead on arrival. Together, they tell a story about money and power and the creation of a new era in business.
Warren Zevon’s call to “send lawyers guns and money” could be Teitelman’s anthem for the mergers and acquisitions heyday of the mid 1970s and ’80s. Corporate raiders armed with junk bonds attorneys and sheer brio targeted corporate giants and felled them. It’s a great story with profound implications for the way America views and regulates corporations. Teitelman shows that corporations were not always regarded as the sole property of shareholders. As recently as the 1960s courts (and the overall culture) regarded corporations as having multiple stakeholders: management employees suppliers and customers. This view was steadily eroded during takeover battles as maximizing shareholder value became management’s principal responsibility. Teitelman chronicles this history exhaustively showing how contemporary social issues such as the disparity in pay between CEOs and workers and Wall Street’s responsibilities to Main Street hearken back to this era. Teitelman has a masterly command of his subject yet he sometimes sacrifices clarity in favor of a jocular hyperbolic writing style more akin to Rolling Stone than the New Yorker. But this is a minor flaw in this comprehensive look at corporate takeovers. Agent: Carol Franco Kneerim Williams and Bloom. (Apr.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
About the Author
Robert Teitelman has worked in financial journalism for 25 years. He was the founding editor in chief of The Deal, a media company founded to report on the deal culture of the mergers and acquisitions business where he was responsible for many of the strategies of that pioneering news operation. Prior to The Deal, Teitelman had been a reporter and writer at Forbes and Financial World magazines. He was senior editor then US managing editor and editor of Institutional Investor magazine, long the favorite long-form publication of Wall Street and the money management industry. He now blogs and reviews books on finance for the Huffington Post and Slate. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, and has Masters degrees in international affairs and journalism from Columbia University.