BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: Wheeling and Dealing in the Banking World by Hope Lampert

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: Wheeling and Dealing in the Banking World

Email this review


Lampert's inviting title alludes to a remark by J.P. Morgan who held that closed doors were for preserving the privacy of those involved in high finance. As it happens, the author has pierced the corporate veil shrouding some of yesteryear's bigger deals; unfortunately, there's very little point (contextual or otherwise) to her dogged re. portage. All told, Lampert offers eight straight-ahead case studies on big-time players of the money game. The best of the oddly assorted lot is an account of how L.F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin managed to raise $66 million for Compaq Computer late in 1983 when stock-market demand for new technology issues was at a low ebb. Also worthy is a recap of the abortive bid Carl Icahn made for Phillips Petroleum at the start of 1984 with the backing of Drexel Burnham Lambert. Appreciably less absorbing is a dated rundown on Citibank's 1983 bailout efforts on behalf of perennially overextended Brazil. Even further behind the times are Lamperts' re-creations of International Harvester's eleventh-hour rescue by Continental Illinois and Bank of America's acquisition of deficit-ridden Seattle First. Both of the protagonist institutions have since been overtaken by untoward events, which the author addresses only in summary epilogues, as she does in a number of other cases. In brief, then, a seemingly random series of reconstructions, dutifully documented but woefully lacking in perspectives that might lend them import either as a collection or on a stand-alone basis.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Atheneum