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The Synergy Trap Hardcover – January 23, 1997


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The Attacker's Advantage: Turning Uncertainty into Breakthrough Opportunities
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Alfred Rappaport The Leonard Spacek Professor Emeritus, J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University; Co-Founder, The ALCAR Group Inc. An excellent antidote for the CEO willing to pay steep acquisition premiums without fully acknowledging the increases in performance required before any value is created. As Sirower's many examples demonstrate, the winning bid too often materializes as a significant transfer of value from the acquirer's to the seller's shareholders. -- Review

About the Author

Mark L. Sirower teaches business strategy and competitive analysis at the Stern School of Business at New York University. He speaks frequently on creating value through mergers and acquisitions for major corporations and in a variety of public forums. The Synergy Trap is based on his pathbreaking Columbia University doctoral thesis. He lives in Manhattan.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (January 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684832550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684832555
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a very easy to read book about how easy you can fall into the trap of paying a high premium for a company without having any concrete plans for how to achive the value gains through the value chain. He describes with some very good examples how to fall into the trap if you dont have a number of conerstones in place before the acquisition. The major cornerstones of synergy are stratigic vision, operating strategy, system integration and power&culture. These four cornerstones are linked closely together.
Chapter three has a discussion about the premium that the acquirer pay.
Part two in the book is an analysis of corporate acquisition strategies. In this analysis i didn't find anything new that I didn't know in advance
So my conclusion would be: an easy to read book with some very good examples of how wrong it can go (eg. sears, AT&T, Time Warner TBS,...), and he put a lot of emphasis on the importance of having the cornerstones of synergy in place before the acquisition as well as a discussion of competitor reations to acquisitions.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Franco Arda on May 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Sirower does a remarkable job in showing how easy it is to lose the acquisition game by failing to define synergy in terms of real, measurable improvement in competitive advantage. By analysing the acquisition premium with his Required Performance Improvement (RPI) formula, Dr. Sirower shows how to determine in advance when the price is far above the potential value of an acquisition. The way managers who analyse the acquisition premium and concept of synergy can avoid to get caught and how to predict the probability of shareholder losses or gains (although the probability formula is not flawless). Regardless the good work done by Dr. Sirower, I wouldn't be surprised if M&A professionals don't like the book because of its highly critical approach to synergie effects.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Mark L. Sirower's thought-provoking and complex book is actually a critically acclaimed academic study that challenges the reasoning behind corporate acquisitions. Pointing out that acquisitions usually devalue the acquiring companies (a loss from which they rarely recover), Sirower delves into management fundamentals and mathematical analyses to get to the bottom of merger and acquisition problems. Three detailed appendices feature plenty of financial calculations, performance measures and data from various corporate acquisitions to back up his assertions. We [...] recommend this book to those involved in mergers and acquisitions and to other readers intrigued by the inside view of this "carnivorous quest."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PWL on September 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Excellent scholarly work. Control premiums are assumed and not supported by empirical evidence. The Synergy Trap is packed with statistical evidence to support the enfluence of the auction or "bidding" process that heavily enfluences stock prices during acquisitions and takeovers.
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