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M&A Titans: The Pioneers Who Shaped Wall Street's Mergers and Acquisitions Industry



M&A Titans: The Pioneers Who Shaped Wall Street's Mergers and Acquisitions Industry

Brett Cole

ISBN: 978-0-470-44053-7 October 2008 240 Pages


This book focuses on the 11 men, lawyers and bankers, who are responsible for the creation of Wall Street's merger industry. It specifically concentrates on the events and personalities who dominated Wall Street during the takeover battles of the 1970s and 1980s. Lawyers Joe Flom and Marty Lipton, the godfathers of modern M&A, educated bankers on takeover laws and regulations as well as tactics. Flom and Lipton were also superlative businessmen who built their own firms to become Wall Street powerhouses. The two men drew into their orbit a circle of bankers. Felix Rohatyn, Ira Harris, Steve Friedman, Geoff Boisi, Eric Gleacher and Bruce Wasserstein were close to Lipton. Robert Greenhill and Joe Perella were close to Flom.

M&A Titans provides insight into the culture of the different investment banks and how each of the bankers influenced the firms they worked in as they became more powerful. Some such as Gleacher, Harris, Wasserstein, Perella and Greenhill clashed with the men running their firms and left. Others such as Friedman and Boisi stayed and profoundly influenced how the firm did business. The career of Michael Milken, perhaps the notorious name on Wall Street in the 1980s, is also examined as well as the actions and tactics of his firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert. Milken and Drexel paved the way for the growth of private equity and helped popularize attacks on management by investors such as Boone Pickens and Carl Icahn.

Acknowledgments ix

The Titans xi

Remarks from Some M&A Titans and Players xiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Genesis: Wall Street, Its Business and Culture 5

Chapter 2 Godfathers—Flom and Lipton 13

Chapter 3 Seducers—Harris and Rohatyn 23

Chapter 4 Systematizer—Goldman Sachs 31

Chapter 5 Originators—Morgan Stanley 43

Chapter 6 Attack or Defend 53

Chapter 7 An Accountant, Feuds, and the Wasserstein Discovery 67

Chapter 8 The Cult of Greenhill, California 85

Chapter 9 Stovepipes 93

Chapter 10 Fall and Rise 103

Chapter 11 “The Genius Franchise” 111

Chapter 12 Stagnation and Implosion 119

Chapter 13 The Rise of Drexel 129

Chapter 14 Crime and Punishment 139

Chapter 15 A Voice in the Wilderness 151

Chapter 16 Intrigue and Resignations 159

Chapter 17 New Horizons 171

Notes 183

References 211

About the Author 215

Index 217