• Business

Executive Summary: Rainmaking 101

1 minute read
Sean Gregory

More than two-thirds of all mergers fail. Yet companies rarely grow without deals. How does a CEO confront this conundrum? David Harding and Sam Rovit, veteran management consultants at Bain & Co., walk readers through the daunting world of M&A inMastering the Merger: Four Critical Decisions That Make or Break the Deal (Harvard Business School Press). Through detailed case studies, the pair show that the more successful acquirers, like Clear Channel, tend to thrive through many small deals rather than the big one. The bottom line: no matter how far along you are in the process, always set a walk-away price. In one of the book’s more colorful snippets, Kellogg CEO Carlos Gutierrez, while negotiating his $3.9 billion acquisition of Keebler in October 2000, offered $42 per share, said he had no more money and walked out of a New York City meeting room. That night he attended a Mets-Yankees World Series game “just to forget about the whole thing.” Keebler accepted two days later. –By Sean Gregory

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Write to Sean Gregory at sean.gregory@time.com