Is there any good Book on Past Mergers and Acquisition - Successful and Unsuccessful real deals

Hi fellow monkeys,

I am looking to read stories and accounts of past mergers and acquisition deals (past 2-3 decades). On Amazon and other websites, I only find technical books 'how to do merger and acquisition' which i don't want. I want the stories of actual deals, people involved.

If not any book, is there other resource?

Because its difficult to track current deals which are live. News comes infrequently and does not give complete background picture of the deal. It will also be useful if I can comprehend differences in the different sectors. As of now I don't have inclination for any particular sector, I would like to know about them so that when I have opportunity to choose a sector in IB, I would be better informed. Where can get such material?

If there is previous thread on same topic, I am sorry but will appreciate if you put the link.

Thank you.

Comments (22)

Jul 20, 2014 - 11:08pm

Not sure about books, but I subscribe to Dan Primack's Term Sheet via It covers current M&A activity among other industry news. I usually read it quick when I get in in the morning. Would recommend subscribing.

Jul 21, 2014 - 12:23pm

Gods at War ( is more deal issues- focused (with some weighting towards the legal side) than personality focused.

It only covers the last decade or so, but is a good read.

If you haven't had a few years in the industry, it may be a little dense, though.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
  • 1
Jul 21, 2014 - 12:24pm

Try also "Deals from Hell" -

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
  • 1
Jul 21, 2014 - 12:28pm

Finally, try the KKR biography "Merchant's of Debt" -

Ignore the shitty looking cover.

The KKR bio is the most accessible. I can't remember that much about "Deals from Hell" (it was 2 - 3 years ago that I read it). Gods at War is excellent but, as I said before, probably dense on the law in the few chapters that focus on deals that got bogged down in M&A legal issues.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
  • 1
Jul 21, 2014 - 3:17pm

Thank you SSits and Carlos Danger for the replies. Yes I don't have experience in M&A. I am transitioning from manufacturing to IB in a phased manner. Apart from technical skills I want to get feel of the industry.

Best Response
Jul 21, 2014 - 3:37pm

Go with the KKR biography, Merchants of Debt. That will give you a good feel for the incentives that influence the various players in PE-based M&A (PE firms, advisers, lenders, targets).

Try also Deals from Hell, as that covers some non-PE strategic M&A ie acquisitions made for strategic business development rather than PE financial returns.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
  • 2
Jul 24, 2014 - 4:44am

Great movie too!!

You're born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you're up in the rarefied atmosphere and you've forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake son.
Jul 24, 2014 - 1:42am

I'd actually say that following a deal in the market is the best way to learn about M&A. Books on the subject, IMO, are generally complete quackery. I was in your shoes before I knew anything about banking or Wall Street and I read the following 3 books: (1) Harvard Business School Round Table on Mergers and Acquisitions; (2) Deals of the Century; (3) Deals from Hell.

I would not advise reading any of them really.

You'll learn a lot more by following 1 or 2 deals that are going on right now. Allergen is probably a good one because there is probably so much stuff being written about it from the Wall Street Journal to Seeking Alpha to equity research to internet forums and blogs. You'll get a much more practical and meaningful understanding of the moving parts.

Jul 25, 2014 - 1:18am

Here's a neat link I bookmarked awhile ago:

"You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right." -Warren Buffett
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