Not even close to as thrilling and engaging as The Informant (the ADM price fixing scheme), this book is touted as the granddaddy of all business books, giving an inside look into the leveraged buyout (LBO) of RJR Nabisco in 1988.
Ross Johnson is portrayed as the smarmy, greedy CEO of RJR Nabisco, who rose from obscurity in his 40s after languishing in Canada for his early career. After merging Standard Brands (who?!) with Nabisco, he then merged Nabisco with RJ Reynolds tobacco. Getting bored of jetting about and playing golf, Johnson decides to pursue the LBO after the 1987 market crash left the stock price depressed.
Interesting connection between The Informant and this book– page 372:
“But even schmoozing with the president failed to lift Johnson from his growing pessimism. Later, leaving for the plane to New York, he turned to Dwayne Andreas, chairman of Archer Daniels Midland and chairman of the committee. Andreas was a friend; Johnson said he wished they saw each other more often. “Well, Dwayne,” he said, “I might have a lot more free time in a couple of weeks.”
auth=Burrough, Bryan and John Helyar
sub=The Fall of RJR Nabisco