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Cutting a deal

Europe's bankers are busy with another takeover boom. But are the corporate financiers just glorified estate agents?

By Isa Gutpreis   March 1999

Rolf Breuer, the bronzed chief executive of Deutsche Bank, likes to lecture international audiences on the ethics of company takeovers. Alarmed about the widespread fear that mergers and acquisitions always cost jobs, he says that investment banks promoting such deals have gained a reputation similar to dealers in used cars. Takeovers, Breuer claims, are eminently defensible on the grounds that they improve the allocation of resources in capitalist societies. There is some justification in his campaign for a more positive image for the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) business. Banks which help to remove underperforming bosses and act as the go-between…

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