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THE CONSUMMATE DEAL MAKER
THE ULTIMATE DEAL
"Sandy Weill is probably the best deal maker on the planet. He is truly one of the leading business titans of our times."
"Sandy's record speaks for itself. I can only dream of where Bear Stearns would be if he had stayed with us."
Chairman to the Executive Committee, Bear Stearns
"King of Capital is about the extraordinary achievement of a man who climbed the highest pinnacles of the world of finance. Sandy Weill recognized early the transformation that was taking place in the financial markets and was able to capture many of the opportunities in them. This book is deftly written and provides many insights into today's financial markets."
President, Henry Kaufman & Company, Inc.
author of On Money and Markets: A Wall Street Memoir
"...the authors tell an interesting story." (Traders Magazine, May 2002)
"This is a rags-to-riches-to-greater-riches story, recounting Weill's rise from a middle-class Brooklyn boyhood to primacy on Wall Street." (BusinessWeek, July 2002)
When Weill was 65, instead of retiring, he set about creating the epic merger between Travelers Group and Citicorp. Soon after, he was aggressively lobbying Congress and the president to pass the Financial Services Modernization Act to make the deal legal. With the passing of this piece of legislation a little more than a year later, companies could legally sell insurance, issue securities and provide banking services under a single umbrella for the first time.
King of Capital also describes how Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill is not a universally loved figure. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars he has donated to charities, there are many former partners and underlings who seem to have mixed feelings about the man who is said to have fired more friends than some people ever make, and is criticized as being an "abrasive and insensitive" leader.
A Titan's Modest Roots
Weill grew up in a modest house in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, with his parents, sister, aunt, uncle and grandparents who had immigrated from Poland. While living there, he watched his father and grandfather build a successful dressmaking business that lasted for 40 years. Weill learned discipline and academics while at Peekskill Military Academy, where a clear system for rewarding accomplishment shaped him to become a successful student of government at Cornell. After graduating, he had a slow start as a low level messenger on Wall Street, but was soon working as a broker. Five years later, in 1960, he started his own firm; his partners were some of the most extraordinary talents available.
One of Weill's first major deals was the 1970 purchase of the 100-year-old brokerage firm Heyden Stone, which was moments away from being dissolved for insolvency. This firm was 10 times the size of Weill's firm. The new brokerage firm continued to follow this prototype: Buy a struggling company with a prestigious name for cheap, adopt its brand name, close weak divisions, integrate its operations into the existing infrastructure, and cut costs.
Three years later, Weill was the CEO of Heyden Stone. Next, the firm purchased Shearson Hamill, which doubled the size of the company. By 1979, Shearson Hayden Stone purchased Loeb Rhoades, which doubled its size again and made it Shearson Loeb Rhoades.
After 14 deals, Weill's original brokerage firm had become Shearson, the second largest brokerage firm on Wall Street. Its focus, which started as retail, had expanded to research, investment banking and building the business. By the time he sold Shearson to American Express in 1981, he was ready to step into AmEx as a top manager.
Time to Quit
Now a multimillionaire, he was not satisfied as an underling to the company's CEO, and remained unhappy even when he was named the company's president in 1983. Two years later he quit American Express to seek new challenges.
When he took the helm of the failing customer credit company Commercial Credit in 1986, nobody believed he could do much with it. Over the next 12 years, he turned around that company and used it as a base for building a financial services conglomerate that would rise above its competitors. In 1988, Weill purchased Primerica, which owned the retail brokerage firm Smith Barney, which returned him to his roots in the securities business. Over the following years, Weill acquired a percentage of Travelers Insurance and bought back the struggling Shearson from American Express. By 1997, Weill had acquired the rest of Travelers and the investment bank Solomon Brothers.
Weill soon dwarfed these mergers with a $70 billion deal that merged Citicorp and Travelers, and placed him on top with a co-CEO who would last only two years before being forced out in a boardroom showdown.
In 2001, Weill's Citigroup was worth more than $1.5 trillion. With profits near $15 billion, Weill's company is one of the most profitable corporations in the world.
Why Soundview Likes This Book
King of Capital is a gripping tale of an amazing man who was able to rise above controversy and competition and attain a position of power and influence equalled by few others. Citigroup's current financial problems does not diminish the strength, determination, perseverance and deal-making skill of this visionary CEO. Copyright (c) 2002 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Click to read or download
Introduction: Meet Sandy Weill.
Chapter 1: The Past Is Gone. The Future Is Limitless.
Chapter 2: The Best and Brightest.
Chapter 3: Hayden Stone: Weill's Acquisition Template.
Chapter 4: Building Shearson.
Chapter 5: Deputy Dog.
Chapter 6: Starting Over.
Chapter 7: Back in the Big Leagues.
Chapter 8: Deal of the Century.
Chapter 9: Weill on Top.
Chapter 10: Citigroup, Post-September 11.
Posted October 20, 2002
Sandy Weill's story make for a good read. The dealmaker produced much larger, much more efficient and profitable business by successfully merging with one new company after another - all the while swallowing a company larger than his current. After leaving American Express, many would have though his CEO days were over. The story of the building of Citigroup is fascinating. By beginning with a troubled company, he turned it around and began the acquisition game again. When Travellers and Citicorp merged to form Citigroup it was a personal triumph for Sandy. The story in the book ends with Sandy still in charge at Citigroup and leaves the readear wondering the future hold for boy Weill and his company. Those stockholders who tagged along for the ride with Mr. Weill were very well rewarded.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.