June 1, 2010
Rise and Fall of the Conglomerate Kings
I'm halfway through Robert Sobel's The Rise and Fall of the Conglomerate Kings, which is probably the definitive account of the conglomerate business structure as told through the lens of the characters who built them. If you're like me, or if you've take an M&A course from someone like me, discussion of the conglomerate period takes up about 15 minutes in the early stages of the class and sets up the narrative for the 1980s LBO boom and the development of the takeover law we all know. Sobel's book is a great introduction to the personalities - imperial CEOs before there was such a thing - who created the conglomerate structure from nothing. Really, you shouldn't consider yourself an M&A geek unless you know who Royal Little or Tex Thornton were.
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