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Bloodsport: When Ruthless Dealmakers, Shrewd Ideologues, and Brawling Lawyers Toppled the Corporate Establishment by Robert Teitelman

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Chapter Seventeen

ILL FARES THE LAND

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey/When wealth accumulates, and men decay.

—OLIVER GOLDSMITH, quoted by John Brooks in The Takeover Game, 19871

BY 1985, Marty Lipton had grown concerned about the Jews—or rather, a backlash against the Jews. Takeovers had grown increasingly unpopular, which normally Lipton favored. But there was no controlling where the fire would move once a spark fell. Lipton’s client letters had grown more vociferous as M&A mounted. Milken’s entrance, sweeping out two-tier bids and bringing in all-cash, junk-bond-funded takeovers, were both effective and not quite-as-coercive, made it trickier to justify “Just say no” in Delaware. Debt-ridden LBOs were getting ever larger. Many ...

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