It began with a hostile takeover attempt of the aerospace giant Martin Marietta by the Bendix corporation. To counter this threat, Martin Marietta employed the audacious strategy of attempting a takeover of Bendix; to make the offer they had to borrow $900 million in one weekend. this attempt gained credibility when, through the work of the heroine of this story, Martin Marietta was able to gain control of the Bendix stock held in a pension trust by Citibank. The battle was soon joined by the United Technologies and Allied corporations. After the dust had settled, Allied owned Bendix, Martin Marietta had to sell substantial assets to recover financially, and some top executives held quite different positions in the corporate world than they did before.

This book is written like a novel; there are physical descriptions of the characters and dialogue supplied for every scene. One soon learns to separate the good guys from the bad. The cast includes the interesting William Agee and Mary Cunningham and others as interesting if not as familiar. If you are knowledgeable about the workings of mergers, this is an exciting, classical case; if you know very little, you will pick it all up painlessly. The author has skillfully included the laws and strategies of mergers and acquisitions into the narrative. You will learn about white knights, poison pills, and golden parachutes.

The author states that there were more than seven thousand mergers in the United States between 1982 and 1984. This might be the real story in MERGER: the vast amount of resources and talent expended in realigning companies instead of producing new goods and services. Even if you have no interest at all in high finance, you will find MERGER hard to put down.