The worst M&A deals of all-time

As the financial industry further unraveled yesterday, Mathieu Robbins of the Irish Independent asked a worthwhile question: Was RBS the idiot company of all-time in buying ABN Amro at the top of the market?  Robbins says no and offers up nine other equally monstrous deals that all went seriously pear-shaped to prove it.

  1. AOL – Time Warner, January 2000
  2. Invensys – Baan, 2000
  3. Taylor Woodrow – Wimpey, July 2007
  4. HSBC – Household International, 2003
  5. Quaker Oats – Snapple, 1993
  6. BMW – Rover, 1994
  7. Royal Bank of Scotland – ABN Amro, 2007
  8. France Telecom – Orange, 2000
  9. Daimler – Chrysler, 1998
  10. British Commonwealth – Atlantic Computers, 1988

All of these deals are real stinkers.   The Irish Independent offers a bit of editorializing to enliven the matter, so see the link below.  This should remind us that M&A is a very tricky business.  Therefore, as we look on the stinking carcass that is RBS, the world’s largest bank by assets, the sort of enterprise that the government of the United Kingdom, should be very careful about supporting, let us remember these other miserable deals as well.

In fact, I have my own list of crap deals to add to these.  Here they are (I will dispense with editorializing, but imagine me doing a David Letterman-like #10, #9…etc):

  1. Citicorp – Travelers, 1998 (In Largest Deal Ever, Citicorp Plans Merger with Travelers Group)
  2. First Union – Wachovia, 2001 (First Union Pursues Wachovia, Making Offer of 13.1 Billion)
  3. Bank of Scotland – Halifax, 2001 ( BoS and Halifax agree merger)
  4. Wachovia – Golden West, 2006 (Wachovia acquires Golden West Financial)
  5. Bank of America – Countrywide Financial, 2008 (Bank of America buys Countrywide)
  6. Morgan Stanley – Dean Witter, 1997 (Wall Street firms to merge)
  7. WorldCom – MCI, 1997 ( WorldCom wins MCI)
  8. KKR – RJR Nabisco, 1987 (RJR Nabisco Explains Its Choice)
  9. Texaco – Pennzoil, 1987 (Pennzoil-Texaco Fight Raised Key Questions)
  10. Cerberus Capital – GMAC, 2007 (GM to sell 51 percent of GMAC)

Did I miss anything? I am sure I did; Rio Tinto -Alcan from 2007 comes to mind (Rio Tinto offers $38.1B for Alcan). Check out the Private Equity Deals from hell below for more of the same. Feel free to add your two cents in the comments.


Was ABN the worst takeover deal ever? – Irish Independent

The Year in 2008 PE-Backed Bankruptcies – WSJ

  1. Marc in Asia says

    Bank of America — Merrill Lynch !!!!!

Comments are closed.

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