Taking a jab at M&A coverage
TheDeal executive editor Yvette Kantrow writes Friday about the recent mergers and acquisitions coverage in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and notes that a Times column about M&A by Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Kantrow wrote, “‘The problem is that most CEOs don’t have the guts to make acquisitions when everyone is running scared,’ Sorkin writes. ‘That is usually during a volatile market â€” like the one we’re living in now. Which is exactly the wrong approach.’
“Maybe for Sorkin it is â€” after all, who wants to cover M&A when there aren’t a lot of deals? But what about some of his colleagues at The New York Times’ business section? Do they think CEOs should get out there and start dealmaking?
“We’re thinking, of course, of Gretchen Morgenson, who has been waging a jihad against mergers in the pages of the Times for years. (Who can forget her classic jeremiad, ‘What Are Mergers Good For?’, in The New York Times Magazine in 2005?) Morgenson’s imposing shadow looms over Sorkin’s column from the get-go, when he sets up a straw man by declaring ‘Most mergers fail. If that’s not a bona fide fact, plenty of smart people think it is’ and then goes on to list some of those ‘smart people’ â€” McKinsey, Harvard, Booz Allen, etc., etc.
“But where is Gretchen on that list? Where is the Times itself? Where, for that matter, is most of the media, which during the last merger boom turned decidedly and reflexively hostile toward deals â€” a hostility fueled by hedge funds, activist shareholders and governance gurus well schooled in the art of spin?”
Read more here.