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Deals of the Century
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Table of Contents

Introduction. Chapter One. Building the Infrastructure. Chapter Two. Driving to the Store. Chapter Three. Power Plays and Conspiracy Theories. Chapter Four. Roll Over, Euclid. Chapter Five. Visigoths versus the Legions. Chapter Six. Spawned by Deregulation. Chapter Seven. Old Bedfellows. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author

Charles Geisst is the author of thirteen books, including The Last Partnerships: Inside the Great Wall Street Money Dynasties (McGraw Hill, 2001), Monopolies in America: Empire Builders and Their Enemies from Jay Gould to Bill Gates (Oxford University Press, 2000), 100 Years of Wall Street (an illustrated history, McGraw-Hill, 1999), and Wall Street: A History (Oxford University Press, 1997). Wall Street: A History was widely reviewed and was on the New York Times Business Bestseller List for three months and was a selection of the History Book Club and the Book of the Month Club International. From 1972-75, Geisst taught political science in an open admissions environment in the City University of New York before taking a job on Wall Street. Subsequently, he worked as a capital markets analyst and investment banker at several investment banks in the City of London. Since 1985 he has taught finance at Manhattan College where he is presently a professor of finance. He was named the college's first Louis F. Capalbo Chair in Business in 1993. Consulting assignments in financial markets have been with Cazenove & Co., S.G. Warburg & Co., the Hudson Institute, and J.P. Morgan & Co. Listed in Who's Who and a frequent participant in Renaissance Weekend, he has published professional and trade articles in magazines and journals such as the International Herald Tribune, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Newsday and Euromoney.

Reviews

Geisst (Wall Street: A History) draws on a storehouse of financial lore in this eye-opening survey of 100 years of corporate deals that have grown increasingly spectacular with each decade. From the century's first megadeal-the formation of U.S. Steel in 1900-through the fabled 1986 leveraged buyout of Beatrice and its even more cantilevered counterparts of the 1990s, he profiles the larger-than-life personalities who have been the driving forces behind the regularly recurring cycle of mergers. Geisst also revels in describing the constantly changing face of corporate financing over the century. The needs of expanding industries like automobiles and retail merchandising couldn't be met by the wealthy financiers in J.P. Morgan's circle in the early years of the 1900s and made the careers of a new breed of investment bankers possible. Geisst shows how the laissez faire economic policy and deregulation that swept in with the Reagan Administration in 1981 set the stage for a deluge of megadeals in previously regulated airlines, energy utilities, telecommunications and banking industries. For all the staggering number, dollar value and complexity of the deals, not to mention the excitement surrounding them, Geisst comes to a sobering conclusion: "Most of the large mergers of the century were nothing more than a way of allowing shareholders and executives to cash out their existing holdings at a profit while often containing costs at the same time by downsizing operations, firing staff and cutting services." Geisst sees the century ending much as it began, with a small group of powerful financial captains determining the structure of our major industries. (Nov.) Forecast: The many readers trying to make sense of Wall Street will be grateful for Geisst's comprehensive and thoughtful retelling of the turmoil and transformation of the past 100 years. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

..."readers trying to make sense of Wall Street will be greatful for Geisst's comprehensive and thoughtful retelling of the turmoil and transformation of the past 100 years." ("Publishers Weekly, October 27, 2003)

"colorful narrative" ("Harvard Business Review, December 2003)


Geisst (Wall Street: A History) draws on a storehouse of financial lore in this eye-opening survey to 100 years of corporate deals that have grown increasingly spectacular with each decade. From the century's first megadeal - the formation of U. S. Steel in 1900 - through the fabled 1986 leveraged buyout of Beatrice and its even more cantilevered counterparts of the 1990s, he profiles the larger-than-life personalities who have been the driving forces behind the regularly recurring cycle of mergers. Geisst also revels in describing the constantly changing face of corporate financing over the century. The needs of expanding industries like automobiles and retail merchandising couldn't be met by the wealthy financiers in J.P. Morgan's circle in the early years of the 1900s and made the careers of a new breed of investment bankers possible. Geisst shows how the laissez faire economic policy and deregulation that swept in with the Regan Administration in 1981 set the stage for a deluge of megadeals in previously regulated airlines, energy utilities, telecommunications and banking industries. For all the staggering number, dollar value and complexity of the deals, not to mention the excitement surrounding them, Geisst comes to a sobering conclusion: "Most of the Large mergers of the century were nothing more than a way of allowing shareholders and executives to cash out their existing holdings at a profit while often containing costs at the same time by downsizing operations, firing staff and cutting services." Geisst sees the century ending much as it began, with a small group of powerful financial captains determining the structure of our major industries. (Nov.)
Forecast: The manyreaders trying to make sense of Wall Street will be grateful for Geisst's comprehensive and thoughtful retelling of the turmoil and transformation of the past 100 years. ("Publishers Weekly, October 27, 2003)

Even during the late 1990s boom, it was common knowledge that most acquisitions failed to justify the premiums paid to make them happen. Yet the deals continued. This colorful narrative shows the same pattern throughout the twentieth century. Geisst, a historian, describes the trinity of interests that drove most deals: shareholders of the acquired firms wishing to sell out, investment bankers eager for fees, and executives at the acquiring firms seeking a growing empire and higher compensation. These interests, he argues, usually overwhelmed any actual synergies for the acquirers themselves-- as evidenced by the fact that most deals happened only when stock prices were rising and investors were least likely to object. Nevertheless, Geisst implies, deal making must have had some larger social purpose, because he ties it to the development of the prosperous U.S. economy as a whole. Even if deal making has not directly boosted shareholder value, for example, it surely facilitated entrepreneurship in the long run in that it made entrepreneurs confident that they could find buyers when they wanted out. ("Harvard Business review, December 2003)

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