Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

Bryan Burrough, John Helyar

Language: English

Pages: 624

ISBN: 0061655554

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

Bryan Burrough, John Helyar

Language: English

Pages: 624

ISBN: 0061655554

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“One of the finest, most compelling accounts of what happened to corporate America and Wall Street in the 1980’s.”
New York Times Book Review

A #1 New York Times bestseller and arguably the best business narrative ever written, Barbarians at the Gate is the classic account of the fall of RJR Nabisco. An enduring masterpiece of investigative journalism by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, it includes a new afterword by the authors that brings this remarkable story of greed and double-dealings up to date twenty years after the famed deal. The Los Angeles Times calls Barbarians at the Gate, “Superlative.” The Chicago Tribune raves, “It’s hard to imagine a better story...and it’s hard to imagine a better account.” And in an era of spectacular business crashes and federal bailouts, it still stands as a valuable cautionary tale that must be heeded.

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tea for 11 cents.” Green died in 1917, and with him went much of Nabisco’s innovative spirit. His successor, a lawyer named Roy Tomlinson, was less interested in biscuits than the bottom line. Profits quadrupled through the 1920s, but Nabisco was coasting on the enormous success of its early products 30 and on its sales force. When it needed new products, it bought them, including Shredded Wheat in 1928 and Milk Bone dog biscuits in 1931. Then, in the midst of the Depression, Nabisco’s bakers

headquarters in East Hanover, New Jersey, but was thwarted when town fathers repeatedly refused to allow helicopters to land there. Slowly but surely, Johnson closed his grip around Schaeberle’s company. One by one, veteran Nabisco executives began to vanish, replaced by Johnson men. The fall of Nabisco’s powerful chief financial officer, Dick Owens, was a prime example of the way Johnson worked. At the time of the merger, Owens appeared to be at the height of his powers. He was made an executive

better. They had met barely three months before. Johnson seemed so open, so trusting, so—how to describe it?—yes, naive. Did he realize the forces he was on the verge of unleashing? Johnson was clad casually in slacks and a light blue golf shirt adorned with RJR Nabisco’s corporate logo. His silvery hair was worn unstylishly long. A gold bracelet dangled from his left wrist. Goldstone knew Johnson was pondering a move that would change his life—maybe all their lives—forever. 1 Why are you

Roehm. No more than five-foot-six, Kravis wore a tuxedo and a tan. He had a ready smile, rheumy blue eyes, and a voice that held the faint echo of his Oklahoma childhood. But it was Roehm, as always, who attracted attention. Three inches taller than her husband, agonizingly thin, her gleaming dark hair pulled back, she wore a strapless gown of emerald green satin Charmeuse, and a necklace of glistening cabochon emeralds. At social events, she clung to her husband’s arm. After champagne and

his hands on $16 billion. It was an aggressive guess. In its calculations Shearson penciled in $15.5 billion—roughly three-quarters of all the LBO money in the world. For a man whose life had been one long party, there was a curious lack of merriment about Johnson in the days leading up to October 19. Andy Sage was struck by the fact he wasn’t getting the buoyant, late-night calls from Johnson that had accompanied all their previous adventures. It struck more than a few amateur psychologists that

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