Masters of the Universe: Winning Strategies Of America's Greatest Deal Makers

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9780887309335: Masters of the Universe: Winning Strategies Of America's Greatest Deal Makers
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The names are legendary . . . Sandy Weill . . . Sumner Redstone . . . Carl Icahn . . . Hugh McCoII . . .

The stories are as fresh as today's headlines . . . Citicorp and Travelers Group . . . NationsBank and BankAmerica . . . Cendant . . .

Here, for the first time, you can meet the men and the minds that have ignited the greatest decade of deal making in the history of business.

In the 1980s Tom Wolfe coined the term "masters of the universe" for Wall Street's elite. Then deal makers were pioneering the leveraged buyouts and corporate raiding techniques of that colorful era. Times have changed, tactics have changed. But today merger and acquisition activity goes on at a rate far greater than anything seen in the eighties. To date the nineties have produced an incredible $8 trillion in mergers and acquisitions worldwide, compared to only $2.4 trillion in the so-called decade of greed.

Wolfe's phrase is even more apt today for the deal makers you are about to meet in this book.

These are strong, smart, visionary men of business who see what others do not, who act as others cannot, who have the will, the drive, the ambition to make their deals and drive their companies to heights that the rest of us can only envy--and learn from.

Nine of today's most powerful masters of the universe are profiled in these pages by Time magazine's Wall Street columnist Daniel J. Kadlec. Each of these top guns sat for extensive interviews, as Kadlec quizzed them about their greatest deal and the strategies they used to pull it off: the critical elements they saw that made the deal worth doing, and, ultimately, how they got the deal done.

The result is a penetrating, incisive portrait of business as it is done at the highest level, with fascinating insights and lessons for each of us. Inside you'll meet:

  • Hugh McColl, with his gripping tale of buyingBankAmerica

  • Sandy Weill, on how he pulled offthe Citicorp-Travelers merger

  • Stephen Bollenbach, on the rocky road to breaking up Marriott Corp.

  • Carl Icahn, with the inside story of his showdown with Texaco

  • Gary Wilson, on buying Northwest Airlines

  • Ted Forstmann, as he recounts surviving and then thrivingwith Gulfstream

  • Joe Rice, on his signature deal carving Lexmark out of IBM

  • Henry Silverman, as he relates his groundbreaking purchase of Avis

  • Sumner Redstone, with his farsighted deal for Viacom

Superbly written, always engrossing, and filled with the drama of great events and sensational deeds, Masters of the Universe will open your eyes to the brave new world of deal makers and deal making.

And Here's a Sample of What the Masters Themselves Reveal About Their Deal-Making Strategies

"Stay in one room. . . . Lock all the doors. Don't eat. Don't drink.Don't go to the bathroom until you've got a deal."-- Hugh McColl

"Any number of wonderful deal guys will tell you how important price is when you're buying a company. But I will guarantee you that it's not that important. . . . You buy the wrong business at 25 percent less than you should pay for it and you take a little longer to go broke. You buy the right business at 25 percent more than you should pay, and you make five times your money instead of six."

-- Ted Forstmann

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Review:

Leveraged buyouts, stock swaps, megamergers--behind every spectacular, headline-making deal you've read about in the last two decades, there were real, live people risking their careers to buy companies, or combine them.

Daniel Kadlec, financial columnist for Time magazine, lines up nine of the biggest dealmakers of our era and profiles the most important deal of each man's career. He keeps most of the focus on the transactions themselves, but also tries to attach a human face to business-page staples like Carl Icahn, Hugh McColl, and Sumner Redstone. He succeeds, to an extent; we come away at least with a feeling of what it's like to engage in conversation with these corporate titans. For example, there's a rather chilling encounter with Icahn that helps illustrate why he was such a cold-blooded success as a corporate-takeover artist.

Readers will probably end up liking most of these guys. Hugh McColl, for example, waited until his NationsBank was bigger than Bank of America before he merged the two, even though he could've done the deal several years earlier. He comes off not just as a man with brass between his legs, but also as one with unusual integrity.

But no matter how you feel about these sometimes cutthroat men and the business moves they've made, you can't help but learn from them: how to improve weak bargaining positions, how to invest in out-of-favor industries, how to adapt to changing times--or, if you have the courage and vision, how to change the times to suit you. --Lou Schuler

About the Author:

Daniel J. Kadlec is an author and journalist whose work appears regularly in Time and Money magazines. He lives with his wife and three children in Chappaqua, New York.

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