Bloodsport

When Ruthless Dealmakers, Shrewd Ideologues, and Brawling Lawyers Toppled the Corporate Establishment

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By Robert Teitelman

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The epic battle of the fascinating, flawed figures behind America’s deal culture and their fight over who controls and who benefits from the immense wealth of American corporations.

Bloodsport is the story of how the mania for corporate deals and mergers all began. The riveting tale of how power lawyers Joe Flom and Marty Lipton, major Wall Street players Felix Rohatyn and Bruce Wasserstein, prominent jurists, and shrewd ideologues in academic garb provided the intellectual firepower, creativity, and energy that drove the corporate elite into a less cozy, Hobbesian world.

With total dollar volume in the trillions, the zeal for the deal continues unabated to this day. Underpinning this explosion in mergers and acquisitions — including hostile takeovers — are four questions that radically disrupted corporate ownership in the 1970s, whose force remains undiminished:

Are shareholders the sole “owners” of corporations and the legitimate source of power?
Should control be exercised by autonomous CEOs or is their assumption of power illegitimate and inefficient?
Is the primary purpose of the corporation to generate jobs and create prosperity for the masses and the nation?
Or is it simply to maximize the wealth of shareholders?

This battle of ideas became the “bloodsport” of American business. It set in motion the deal-making culture that led to the financialization of the economy and it is the backstory to ongoing debates over competitiveness, job losses, inequality, stratospheric executive pay, and who “owns” America’s corporations.
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On Sale
Apr 5, 2016
Page Count
432 pages
Publisher
PublicAffairs
ISBN-13
9781610394147

Robert Teitelman

About the Author

Robert Teitelman has worked in financial journalism for twenty-five years. He was the founding editor in chief of The Deal, a media company founded to report on the deal culture of the mergers and acquisitions business where he was responsible for many of the strategies of that pioneering news operation.

Prior to The Deal, Teitelman had been a reporter and writer at Forbes and Financial World magazines. He was senior editor then US managing editor and editor of Institutional Investor magazine, long the favorite long-form publication of Wall Street and the money management industry. He now blogs and reviews books on finance for the Huffington Post and Slate. He is a graduate of the College of William & Mary, and has Masters degrees in international affairs and journalism from Columbia University.

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