M&A Lessons that Rise Above the Ashes
Deals From Hell
By: Robert F. Bruner
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2005
Review by: Jennifer G. Cuthbertson
Mega-mergers and acquisitions seem to be the norm these days. They garner a lot of press, and with good reason. Shareholders, stockholders, competitors, and regulatory agencies all follow these deals with great interest. Part of the fascination is speculation on whether the marriage will last, or whether it will join the list of very public and very spectacular failures. Not all of this interest is prurient. Some is actually a legitimate attempt to find a magic M&A formula.
As Robert Bruner explains in Deals From Hell, M&A is part art and part science, and the components for success vary from deal to deal. Bruner takes a different approach to the study of M&A. Instead of looking at the successes, he examines some of the stunning failures, like the acquisition of Columbia Pictures by Sony and the merger of AOL and Time Warner, to see what went wrong. Through extensive case study and comparison, Bruner provides a primer for M&A that is must reading for any executive.