Corporate Fireworks Make For ...


vintage american idol drama on tvThe appeal of reality TV shows such as American Idol is undeniable.

As the judges kibitz and trade barbs on who gets a pass to Hollywood, it’s the fact that we don’t know what will happen next that draws us in.

And it’s what keeps so many people watching to the bitter end.

You can see the same dynamic on display in the corporate world when a company tries to buy another but hits a pothole on the way to bigger-hood.

Sure, the twists and turns can be compelling, but it’s the question of how it will end that captivates.

Consider a CEO pursuing an acquisition with the following elements:

* Totally emotionally and intellectually committed to the idea

* Alienated biggest shareholder

* Chalking up air miles on the corporate jet to sell the deal

* Will be defining moment for career

* Intensity and self confidence didn’t always endear her/him to colleagues

* Before arriving, company was faltering amid high commodity prices and increasing competition.

Who’s the CEO?

Anyone within a stone’s throw of the computer industry would guess Carly Fiorina when she was CEO of HP.

She led the bare-knuckles fight to acquire Compaq back in 2002.

Who can ever forget the showdown when dissident shareholder and director Walter Hewlett did everything in his power to derail the acquisition?

But those bulleted vignettes don’t describe Carly.

They’re culled from a recent BusinessWeek story on Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld and her quest to land Cadbury.

In this case, Rosenfeld’s “Walter Hewlett” is none other than Warren Buffet, who happens to be Kraft’s largest shareholder.

With that said, the two companies got “married” on Tuesday.

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