Bloodsport: When Ruthless Dealmakers, Shrewd Ideologues, and Brawling Lawyers Toppled the Corporate Establishment Hardcover – April 5, 2016
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A great story, with profound implications for the way America views and regulates corporations Teitelman has a masterly command of his subject in this comprehensive look at corporate takeovers.” Publishers Weekly
"Lively storytelling about complex theories and arcane dealmaking." Kirkus Reviews
"Bob Teitleman has written THE definitive book on the rise of the 2.5 trillion deal market. He expertly weaves insider history with a deep theoretical and insightful look into how the United States became a deal nation. This book should be required reading not just for deal junkies but for anyone who wishes to understand our economy and the world of mergers, acquisitions and dealmakers." Steven Davidoff Solomon, Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and the New York Times 'Deal Professor'―-
Well written, and a must read for any aspiring dealmaker or business journalist. It is infused with history, anecdotes and insight about M&A trickery that will give readers the necessary edge for future deals Teitelman goes out of his way to make M&A as accessible as possible, which is commendable.” James Fontanella-Khan, Financial Times
An absorbing history of the takeover boom There's plenty to chew on in this deep dive into the dark arts of M&A.” Barron's
A sobering exploration of the mergers and acquisition business tracing how speculators and executives get rich while othersmostly workersface layoffs, dislocation and damaged careers Excellent.” Washington Post―-
About the Author
Prior to The Deal, Teitelman had been a reporter and writer at Forbes and Financial World magazines. He was senior editor then US managing editor and editor of Institutional Investor magazine, long the favorite long-form publication of Wall Street and the money management industry. He now blogs and reviews books on finance for the Huffington Post and Slate. He is a graduate of the College of William & Mary, and has Masters degrees in international affairs and journalism from Columbia University.
- Item Weight : 1.53 pounds
- Hardcover : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781610394130
- ISBN-13 : 978-1610394130
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
- Publisher : PublicAffairs; 1st edition (April 5, 2016)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 1610394135
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,217,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Like many readers, I looked forward to his weekly "Transactions" column and his wry, sophisticated commentary on the state of dealmaking. So I was excited when I learned of his new book on the history of dealmaking. The title alone promised a good read:"Blood Sport: When Ruthless Dealmakers, Shrewd Ideologues, and Brawling Lawyers Toppled the Corporate Establishment."
The book is loosely structured as a series of profiles of the major figures who shaped the golden era of M&A: Joe Flom, Marty Lipton, Felix Rohatyn, Harvard's Michael Jensen, Bruce Wasserstein, Michael Milken, Chancery Judge Bill Allen and Justice Drew Moore of Delaware. Teitelman does not give us a bland academic regurgitation of the history of deals or a biased, fawning love letter to sources. Instead, we learn of the personal stories and struggles of these men (and sadly it's mostly all men) who influenced the business of their times. There's a strong sociological element presented here that no other writer could capture. For example, Teitelman discusses the rise of a non-WASP, Jewish bar (led by Flom and Lipton) and a deregulated, more transactional and larger Wall Street, which produced a virulent anti-Semitism in the late '80s, and informs some of the recurrent anti-finance mood of today.
As the FT wrote in their review[...], Teitelman "is close to many of the characters he writes about, but at no point does one feel that he is on their side." Bloodsport is a balanced, smartly conceived book written by that rare journalist who can get up close and personal with his sources and still provide an objective, at times critical, assessment of their work. A must read for anyone working in business. And a great lesson for anyone who has ever wondered why they should care about deals and how they impact their lives. As Teitelman wrote:
“M&A every year touches millions: a husband laid off, a friend receiving a buyout, a town devastated by a shuttered factory, or, for that matter, a banker wheeling past in a shiny new Porsche . . . M&A, for good or evil, is a key ingredient in that great imperative of modern life: economic growth.”
At a time in our political lives where "Deal" is thrown around like a cheap four-letter word, Teitelman reminds us how serious and important the art of dealmaking really is, through gripping profiles of the people who built the modern Deal Economy.
Teitelman looks at some unlikely characters – the lawyers, bankers, academics and other advisors who have turned corporate dealmaking into a cottage industry. We tend to think of mergers as the domain of outsized corporate personalities. “Blood Sport” shows us the importance of supporting players. (So saying, Michael Milken is one of the individuals Teitelman spends time on and as we all know, Milken is no stranger to the media spotlight.)
We accept mergers and acquisitions as a given and for good reason. Last year, the global M&A market reached almost $5 trillion, a truly staggering sum. Yet, there was a time, not all that long ago, when this activity was anything but commonplace.Teitelman explains how M&A came about, tracing its roots back more than a half-century to a time when Wall Street was “sleepy, private, controlled by that neoclassical pile on Broad Street, the New York Stock Exchange.” He focuses on individuals who are now legendary in the trade, but pretty much unknown to the rest of us.
“Blood Sport” also delves into the importance of Delaware corporate law. OK, another subject that seems guaranteed to put us to sleep. Yet, it’s hugely important to they way American business operates and Teitelman does an admirable job of explaining why.
Teitelman can be witty and turns a wonderful phrase. He describes a widespread belief “that Wall Streeters, like economists, investors and gypsy ladies in trailers, can read the future, which swirls around the bottom of a crystal ball -- or a glass of scotch.” He also isn’t afraid to quote Tocqueville and Hegel or to take on fellow journalists for celebrating the likes of Enron executives and their approach to business “until the day the company collapsed.”
As the book’s title suggests, Teitelman is no apologist for M&A. He is not one of those annoying pseudo-thinkers who believe the most unfettered capitalism is the closest to economic purity, a kind of religion in business suits. Indeed, in his ultimate conclusion, Teitelman describes a stacked corporate deck in which executives “walk away with these glittering tin trophies of American achievement – wealth, power and worldly success,” while just about everyone else is expendable and disenfranchised. This sounds more like Occupy Wall Street than Wall Street Worship.
In “Blood Sport,” Teitelman takes on many roles: the philosopher as financial journalist, the financial journalist as historian, the historian as clear-headed observer of complex, contemporary events. He does so in a way that will impress even the hardest to please.
Bloodsport is filled with trenchant, colorful descriptions of the outsized personalities who played prominent roles in this story. Bruce Wasserstein, the investment banker who took takeover battles to new heights of aggressiveness in the 1980s, is described by long-time friends as both brilliant and a slob. Teitelman says he was “a figure of a bewildering number of parts, few of which seemed to fit together snugly … his thinning hair was often awry; his shoelaces were often untied; he could make the most expensive suit appear ill-fitting.” Of the young Michael Milken, of junk-bond fame, the author writes, “He was a control freak, a workaholic … a man who kept his information close, including a few items that probably weren’t secrets to his colleagues, like his toupee, which he donned in his twenties.”
For all that, Bloodsport tells a sobering tale of the death of an older vision of the corporation as a patriarchal entity, operated for the sake of stakeholders such as employees. In its place towers a shareholder-centric organization, where an alignment of interest between shareholders and CEOs has contributed to, among other things, rising inequality.