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Gods at War: Shotgun Takeovers, Government by Deal, and the Private Equity Implosion Paperback


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Gods at War: Shotgun Takeovers, Government by Deal, and the Private Equity Implosion + Deals from Hell: M&A Lessons that Rise Above the Ashes + Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 365 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470919027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470919026
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 3.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

While the financial community looks to regain its footing, dealmakers will continue to do what they've always done—structure deals that drive the fate of corporate America. With powerful professionals competing to create and close better deals, these executives, like gods, will determine the future of companies and our economy.

Author Steven Davidoff understands both the intricacies of these deals and the forces driving them. Writing as "The Deal Professor" for the New York Times "DealBook," he provides daily commentary on the latest takeover news and has become a nationally known authority on this fast-moving field. Now, with Gods at War, Davidoff introduces you to this trillion-dollar business—from private equity and government to hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds—and reveals the recent events that have changed the way the game is played.

Gods at War is the definitive story of deal-making. Opening with an engaging look at the evolution of this discipline, the book quickly moves into the modern era—where deal-making has become a truly global endeavor—and works its way through the current financial crisis and beyond. Page by page, it skillfully details:

  • The private equity boom and its implosion

  • The return of the strategic transaction and hostile takeover

  • The failure of the investment banking model

  • The government's deal-making during the recent financial crisis

  • And much more

Each chapter unfolds through the lens of recent events, from the battle between Yahoo! and Microsoft to the United Rentals/Cerberus dispute. Along the way, you'll also become familiar with the federal government's regulation by deal approach to saving the financial system—which included the serial bailouts of AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, and others. In describing the dynamic events of this period, Davidoff not only reveals how deals are accomplished in modern capital markets, but he also details the transformation that the takeover marketplace is undergoing and its prospects for the future. In doing so, he puts forth a definitive view and theory of deals and deal-making.

The financial revolution, globalization, and financial crises have permanently changed deal-making—creating perils and opportunities for both dealmakers and regulators. With Gods at War as your guide, you'll gain a better understanding of this discipline and discover the various events, individuals, and institutions that continue to shape this competitive arena. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

"Gods at War brilliantly analyzes the legal issues, the politics, and the players in high-profile merger and acquisition transactions. Steven Davidoff is a master of the tactics and rules of deal-making, and he has once again shown why he is one of the country's most respected legal writers."
—Rob Kindler, Vice Chairman and Global Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, Morgan Stanley

"In Gods at War, Steven Davidoff, aka The Deal Professor, delivers a detailed and lucid treatise of the fascinating historical precedents that resulted in the frenzied deal-making activity that ended abruptly with our current financial crisis and then goes on, in impressive fashion, to discuss what deals will look like in a new era dominated by government ownership and a lack of acquisition financing. Deal practitioners—and those just curious about all the fuss—will want this book at the top of their reading list."
—William D. Cohan, author of House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street and The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.

"Davidoff is one of the most insightful and perceptive minds in the world of deal-making. With an ability to distill the most complicated legal issues into clear prose, he has become a must-read inside the nation's boardrooms and corner offices."
—Andrew Ross Sorkin, Editor of THE New York Times's "DealBook" and author of Too Big to Fail

"Where will M&A go next? Any answer depends on an understanding of the merger wave of 2002–2008, which this book affords. Rich in fresh insights, carefully researched, and well written, Gods at War gives a threshold to the future of M&A. I recommend it to students, practitioners, and fans of high finance."
—Robert F. Bruner, Dean and Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia; author of Deals from Hell: M&A Lessons that Rise Above the Ashes; and coAuthor of The Panic of 1907


More About the Author

Professor Davidoff is associate professor of law at the University of Connecticut School of Law. His research focus include mergers & acquisitions and deals and deal theory.

Professor Davidoff writes a regular column for The New York Times "DealBook" site as The Deal Professor, which primarily focuses on mergers and acquisitions. He also writes in trade journals, such as the Deal, lectures, has testified before the United States Senate, and is frequently quoted in the national media on issues related to our capital markets and mergers and acquisitions.

Prior to entering academia, Professor Davidoff practiced as an attorney for about 10 years primarily with Shearman & Sterling in its New York and London offices.

Professor Davidoff graduated from the Columbia University School of Law where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and received a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, cum laude with honors. He has a master's degree in finance from the London Business School.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
Steven Davidoff is one of the most perceptive observers of the legal side of the M&A world.
Kenneth A. Adams
Professor Davidoff does an excellent job of detailing the legal and practical aspects of M&A transactions in a captivating, narrative format.
RCF
His book is well worth reading if you are interested in understanding how we got to where we were, and where we may be headed.
White Collar Crime Guy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By White Collar Crime Guy on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Out of the ruble of the financial meltdown that began in 2008 we're starting to see signs that the market for corporate acquisitions is coming back to life. From Berkshire Hathaway's deal to buy Burlington Northern to Novartis's proposed squeeze-out of the minority shareholders of Alcon, large scale deals are moving to the forefront. Professor Steven Davidoff's Gods at War gives you the background you need to understand the changing landscape of mergers and acquisitions, most importantly the shifting legal ground on which these takeovers take place.

Professor Davidoff teaches law after practicing in the M&A field for a decade, and his book is about the law, but it's not written for lawyers - thankfully. Instead, it is for readers with some understanding of the financial markets and an interest in learning how deals get done, or are thwarted by management and competitors. Most importantly, he explains how new sources of capital, especially private investment pools and hedge funds, are changing the way transactions occur.

As an added bonus, Gods at War provides a nice history of the financial meltdown after the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers in 2008. What had once been a private market, with S.E.C. regulation but not much serious interference in the marketplace, has changed into what he calls "Government by Deal." The current financial reform legislation aims to make this a permanent feature of the financial system by giving Washington the power to seize control of large institutions that pose too great a risk to the economy's stability - making permanent the notion of "too big to fail." His assessment of where the deal machinery may be headed looks to be dead on.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David A. Westenberg on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I came to this book from two perspectives: as a corporate deal lawyer, and as an avid student of the art and history of deal-making. This book scores on both fronts. With a clear and engaging style, and an insider's perspective, Gods at War lays bare the inner world of the deals that are shaping our economy and our future. By providing rare insight into the players and dynamics underlying today's mega deals, this book both explains recent events and provides a glimpse at the future of corporate America. If you can read only one book on the topic, this is it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth A. Adams on January 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Steven Davidoff is one of the most perceptive observers of the legal side of the M&A world. If you're a corporate lawyer and you aspire to be an active participant in dealmaking rather than a mere scrivener, you should read "Gods at War." With its account of deal mechanics and the recent history of the takeover markets, including what transpired during the financial crisis, it provides a valuable big-picture perspective on how deals are made or not made.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tommi Juusela on February 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The world of deal making has become extremely multifaceted and complex. The unstable business environment, globalization and new phenomena like sovereign wealth funds are permanently changing the landscape of deal making. In "Gods at War," Steven Davidoff cleverly builds a factual narrative that boils down to the question - how will and should deal making be changed? To underline his reasoning, Davidoff pinpoints deficiencies in the legal system and the financing world and even in the personalities of the people in the "deal making machine".

Davidoff writes vividly and explains the complexity and diversity involved in today's deal making with clarity. He is able to convey technical deal details with proselike fluency that often makes "Gods at War" a real page-turner. He draws convincing fact-based conclusions and is able to foresee upcoming trends from scattered data. He colors his narrative with back-of-the-scene stories on recent transactions.

"Gods at War" is a great read for anyone who is involved in the "deal making machine" or who wants to understand its intricacies. It is especially aimed at lawyers, but other professions will also benefit from its insightful view on the changing corporate world. The book sets the scene for deal making in the 2010's.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gods of War is must read book for those looking to understand a huge segment of the financial markets today. If you're an avid ready of Dealbook, WSJ, or the FT and want to understand the mechanisms behind some of the larger mergers and aquisitions of the last ten years then this is your book.
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