Barbarians at the Gate
The fight to control RJR Nabisco during October and November of 1988 was more than just the largest takeover in Wall Street history. Marked by brazen displays of ego not seen in American business for decades, it became the high point of a new gilded age, and its repercussions are still being felt. The ultimate story of greed and glory, Barbarians at the Gate is the grippin...more
The atmosphere at Tuesday morning's breakfast between Cohen and Kravis was no worse than that inside any commercial meat locker.
It's about as bad as All the President's Men, but the material kinda saves the ...more
It’s the story of an attempt to take RJR Nabisco private, and then a series of take over attempts that were instigated by the original privatization plan. Johns ...more
This tsunami of details in this story of the leveraged buy-out of RJR Nabisco would be mind-numbing if it were not for the sharp anger at the incessant and insatiable greed it highlights.
One feels an eerie sense of déjà vu reading this book. The RJR Nabisco takeover battle was fought in 1988, but the unmitigated (and unregulated) greed on the part of Wall Street seems to only have changed in form, not in magnitude. It borders (then and now) on the obscene.
This book is not for the faint o ...more
The book begins with the history of the two sides of the company. I’ll review their early history here, as it’s particularly i ...more
For example, the rise of Johnson through the ranks of Standard Brands, the late ni ...more
Detailed - and downright shocking - display of the egos and attitudes of hundreds of real people involved in the biggest private equity buyout of its day (and until relatively recent days). Describes far too many people to follow and too much detail, but the sheer magnitude of greed, excess and penis envy is amazing.
The DVD of the same title gives the abridged version of the story. It's quite hard to follow the story without knowing the background from the book. DVD also emphasizes Linda Robinso...more
This book chronicles a selling-off of a major corporation in the late nineties: RJR Nabisco.
As the role of CEO has become more prominent the greed and ego of those in positions have risen. At some point a CEO wanted a bigger fiefdom so they thought it would be smart to combine a food company wit ...more
It's probably because I don't get around much, but I've only seen one depiction of greed that I thought was funny, and that's the one from The Addams Family, in which Gomez Addams shows the impostor Fester how to get to the money vault by pulling on the book titled "Greed" on the bookshelf.
Then there's the other kind of greed, the greed that is just nasty, heartless, s ...more
Essentially, Ross Johnson rises to CEO of RJR Nabisco through playing politics, scheming with his band of merry men, and schmoozing board members. He constantly shakes up the company because he gets bored easily, and goes snif ...more
The book turned out to be a wonderful read. I learned a tremendous deal about private equity, the mid-to-late century evolution of finance on Wall Street, and the important role of corporate governance in business. Some of these points were not discussed on an academic level (e.g. ...more
If you are into business case studies or just historical accounts of grand corporate events, this book is for you.
Not for every reader, which is why it is only at 4 stars here, but really a 4.5/5 in my book
An absolutely riveting read, chronicling the RJR LBO story from the 80s. The authors have done a really good job at making this eminently readable and accessible, and one doesn't need beyond a basic knowledge of financial instruments to understand most of the things. And the volume of the book only speaks to the sheer journalistic effort they have put into this, while at the same time not allowing it to become boring at any point. It took me a while to get through ...more
Get some insight into how LBO's are done and the frenzy some create.
Now called "private equity " companies.
Sadly the debt incurred by the companies that are bought, also causes them to be destroyed whilst the banking and private equity firms make a killing in fees.
I guess the difference is if management buys it over or is retained. . but in this instance it wasn't great for the company but the shareholders benefited in this instance; many of which were employees or ex-employees , ...more
''Barbarians at the gate'' tells the ...more
It was in my husbands distribution box at school. He was s ...more
I thought this would be boring. The book proved me wrong; there are more than 500 pages here, and it is a page turner.
The topic is LBOs or "leveraged buyouts' and in particular the LBO of RJR Nabisco in the late 80s.
In a leveraged buyout, company A buys company B with mostly borrowed money, attempting to make an eventual profit from company Bs assets. Making the deal happen can become a very competitive, complex and lucrative process. LBOs reveal the cross section of people in the financial ind ...more
Back to the actual reality of my current circumstances however, and the book was still very good bar a few issues. The claims of it having "the suspense of a first-rate thriller" m ...more
Prior to joining ...more