A Giant Cow-Tipping by Savages: The Boom, Bust, and Boom Culture of M&A

Overview

Modern mergers and acquisitions, or M&A as it's more commonly known, is a new phenomenon. The buying and selling, the breaking up and combining of companies—the essence of M&A—has been a part of commerce throughout history, but only in our era has M&A itself become a business. In 2007, before the recession hit, it was a $4.4 trillion global enterprise. And yet, it remains largely unexplored. Discrete stories have been pulled from the annals of M&A, both true and fictionalized, that have become ...

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A Giant Cow-Tipping by Savages: The Boom, Bust, and Boom Culture of M&A

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Overview

Modern mergers and acquisitions, or M&A as it's more commonly known, is a new phenomenon. The buying and selling, the breaking up and combining of companies—the essence of M&A—has been a part of commerce throughout history, but only in our era has M&A itself become a business. In 2007, before the recession hit, it was a $4.4 trillion global enterprise. And yet, it remains largely unexplored. Discrete stories have been pulled from the annals of M&A, both true and fictionalized, that have become touchstones for wealth and excess. Who can forget Gordon Gekko and his "Greed is Good" speech? But while there have been a few iconic characters and tales to emerge, no one has told the rich history of M&A, until now. This is a look into that world and the people who created it. This reads like Dallas meets Wall Street, told through an intriguing narrative that not only brings to light in gritty detail all of the back room drama of such powerful players as Carl Icahn and Ronald Perelman, Marty Lipton and Joe Flom, Jimmy Goldsmith and Sumner Redstone, but also reveals how the new generation, including activist whirlwind Bill Ackman and iconoclastic new Delaware judge Leo Strine, will dominate the next tsunamic, and imminent, M&A boom.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/19/2013
The mergers and acquisitions industry may seem like it’s always been a part of the financial world, but as journalist Weir Close, founder and editor of the M&A Journal, shows, the history of M&A only begins in the mid-1970s. This detailed and lively chronicle looks at the world of M&A, the people who created it, and the next M&A boom. The story begins with Joe Flom and Marty Lipton, two rivals who took advantage of newly instituted government regulations and turned the buying and selling of companies into a profession of its own. Weir Close then takes the reader into the wild excesses of the years that followed, from workplace lunch-hour lap dances to coffee carts stocked with beverages, donuts, and cocaine, and 400-hour work months. In addition to Flom and Lipton, readers meet a host of influencers, including Merrill Lynch’s Jeffrey Chandor and Drexel’s Michael Milken, as well as famed eccentric Jimmy Goldsmith, who was known for his rubber band phobia. The narrative travels from Hollywood and the battle between John Kluge and Sumner Redstone over Orion, to publishing house Macmillan, to industries too numerous to count. Exhaustive and well written, Weir Close’s account offers an insightful look forward and perceptive look back at the world of M&A. Agent: Larry Weissman, Larry Weissman Literary. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"A Giant Cow-Tipping by Savages…is as much an inquiry into the roots of today’s business environment as it is a sharp-penned history of raiders and their minions." —Strategy + Business

"Close details prevailing practices, drawing on a wealth of information, flavored with gossip about wild parties, cocaine use and sexual extravaganzas during the working days of ‘nocturnal underground Wall Street.’" —Kirkus

"Not since Barbarians at the Gate and The Predators' Ball have I enjoyed a book about Wall Street as much as A Giant Cow-Tipping by Savages: The Boom, Bust, and Boom Culture of M&A, by John Weir Close."—David Warsh, economicprincipals.com

"A Giant Cow-Tipping By Savages is uncommonly lively and literate in its sweeping depiction of one of the great upheavals in modern business history." —Benjamin Wallace, author of The Billionaire's Vinegar

"A Giant Cow-Tipping by Savages is Mad Men mixed with House of Cards, a bird's eye view into a world rarely seen, exposing the lives of men who changed corporate America, a drama filled with late-night deal making, fortune-hunting and pathos." —Darci Picoult, Sundance fellow, screenwriter of award-winning Mother of George

"The excellence of this book begins with its title. It is a worldly and exhilarating account of America's corporate wars from the boisterous 1980s to the present." —James Buchan, author of The Authentic Adam Smith

"John Close vividly captures the tumult we experienced and the exhilaration we felt manning the battle stations in the takeover frenzy of the '80s—the most fascinating M&A decade in our history." —James Freund, Retired Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP

"Reading this compelling, colorful, and extraordinarily well-written romp through the M&A wars will bring back a flood of memories to the Players of the M&A Games. John Close persuasively documents how M&A fees corrupted Wall Street from serving its clients to treating them as revenue sources to be squeezed and, when emptied, discarded. Read this book; you will be thoroughly entertained and it will give you pause to think." —Stuart L. Shapiro, Partner, Shapiro Forman Allen & Sava LLP

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
M&A Journal founder and editor Close provides an insider's account of the fast-paced, high-stakes arena of mergers and acquisitions. "M&A has a deceptively mundane definition," writes the author. "It means taking control of a company, with or without the consent of the executives running it…In one stroke, you expand your business and eliminate a competitor….It sounds simple...[but] it has revolutionized corporate Earth and enriched the members of the guild as perhaps none of them ever imagined." Close's sequential account, which runs from the 1970s through the present, introduces a cast of contemporary robber barons of finance, including Edgar Bronfman, Lord James Hanson, Robert Campeau and many others. Close details prevailing practices, drawing on a wealth of information, flavored with gossip about wild parties, cocaine use and sexual extravaganzas during the working days of "nocturnal underground Wall Street." He also shows how some of the protagonists invested their post-deal profits--e.g., John Kluge's 6,000-acre estate in Virginia, where the recreation was finally disrupted by a Fish and Wildlife Service criminal investigation. Close exposes the anti-Semitism that has continued to rear its head and examines how it has become a factor in particular takeovers. The author also discusses the lawyers and judges whose tactics and decisions shaped the world of takeovers--e.g., Joseph Flom and others from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, who worked on defense mechanisms. The justices of Delaware's Chancery and Supreme Court, one of the country's leading venues for business law, imposed limits on what could be done as they redefined the responsibilities of boards of directors to both their corporations and shareholders. The new generation of Delaware judges will surely make their own contributions. A detailed and well-organized account of a world in which billions changed hands overnight.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230341814
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 687,490
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John Weir Close is an award-winning journalist who has been covering mergers and acquisitions for decades. He is the editor and founder of The M&A Journal where he’s covered most of the major transactions and has profiled many of the big players. He is also a former editor at The American Lawyer where he worked for ten years; there he was in charge of two monthly magazines, one on M&A and one aimed at in-house law departments. Close started his career in Saudi Arabia as a stringer for the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal and an editor at Jeddah’s The Arab News. He then became a corporate lawyer and worked in M&A on Wall Street for four years.  He’s been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, The Observer, The American Lawyer, Corporate Control Alert, and Corporate Counsel.

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Table of Contents

Contents

1 The Temple of Dendur

2 Wasps, Jews, and M&A

3 The Hellfire, Club

4 The Land of the Screamers

5 The Size of Their Toys

6 The Visit of the British Company Man

7 Rubber Phobia

8 The Guns of Aqaba

9 Erectile Dysfunction

10 A Bondian Death Ray

11 Up, Up, and Away!

12 The Beggar’s Rurse

13 Foul Dust

14 Fat Man and Little Boy

15 A Big Bloody Outcry

16 Orion and the Wolves

17 The Heart of Hollywood

18 Icarus Falling

19 Birds of America

20 Return to the Temple

 Notes

 Index

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