THE VULTURE INVESTORS: The Winners and Losers of the Great American Bankruptcy Feeding Frenzy by Hilary Rosenberg

THE VULTURE INVESTORS: The Winners and Losers of the Great American Bankruptcy Feeding Frenzy

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A blue-chip rundown on the predatory Wall Streeters who incur sizable risks in hope of realizing handsomÉ rewards--by taking big positions at a discount in the distressed debt securities of Chapter 11 casualties. A senior editor at Institutional Investor, Rosenberg chronicles the latter-clay emergence of a new breed of opportunist as the takeover wars of the 80's have given way to the restructuring battles of the 90's. By her informed and instructive account, many of the high-profile enterprises that borrowed substantial amounts (e.g., in the junk-bond market and from banks) in aid of leveraged buyouts or other dubious deals soon found themselves unable to meet their debt-service obligations. Many wound up in federal bankruptcy court, where they became fair game for the money men (no women of note as yet) whom the author characterizes as ""vulture investors."" Lineal descendants of the gentlemanly souls who patiently searched for value among the fiscal wreckage of Depression-era railroads, vulture investors are, on the anecdotal evidence of Rosenberg's text, a hard-nosed, unsentimental lot. Backed to a surprising extent by public pension money (a mainstay of the prior decade's merger mania), the loan-arrangers don't hesitate to throw their weight around and antagonize creditor committees or, if need be, judges. Rosenberg offers an accessible, frequently entertaining guide to the role played by these scavengers in more than a dozen reorganizations, including those involving Southland (of 7-Eleven fame), Donald Trump's Atlantic City casinos, and Allegheny International (Oster-Sunbeam). She also profiles major players, few of whom (save Carl Icahn) are household names. An evenhanded introduction to as unlovable and consequential a crew as ever pounded a boardroom's conference table.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: HarperBusiness