The Predators’ Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the JunkBond Raiders

The Predators' Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the JunkBond Raiders

During the ’80s, Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham created the corporate raiders. He was the billionaire Junk Bond King. But, in the corner stood the U.S. District Attorney waiting to file criminal and racketeering charges.

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3 thoughts on “The Predators’ Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the JunkBond Raiders”

  1. Amazon Customer says:
    80 of 89 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A Classic Look at the Inside of Milken’s World, December 6, 2000
    By 
    Amazon Customer (CHAPEL HILL, NC, United States) –

    This review is from: The Predators’ Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the JunkBond Raiders (Paperback)
    This book, “Barbarians at the Gate” by Burrough and Helvar, and “Den of Thieves” by Stewart fully depict the defining events of Wall Street in the 1980’s. Of this triumvirate, Ms. Connie Bruck’s book is the only one that is more read than reported (both “Barbarians” and “Thieves” were written by WSJ reporters), and it really delves into the personal lives and backgrounds of the major players at Drexel. In reading this text you are provided with a full description and understanding of Milken and the driving forces behind the firm, above all, you understand the trap he worked himself into through his own success and how he wound up victimized by the financial system that he worked within.
    My version of the text is labeled on the front cover as, “The Book Wall Street Couldn’t Stop,” in reference to attempts to prevent its publishing. I believe that those persons that wanted to do so are now content with their failure, as the book does a good job of explaining the brilliance of Milken, the market that he created and nurtured, and the catch-22 that led to his criminilization. As someone who works in banking, it is awe-inspiring to read the descriptions of Milken’s deal-making capabilities and strategies, and at the same point disappointing to see how he slipped from operating in shades of grey to areas of wanting morals. The author does a very good job of illustrating the power Milken had within Drexel, how his office on the West Coast went from being a backwater to accounting for the bulk of the firms revenue, and how Milken’s subsequent removal left Drexel crippled past the point of healing. The inter-office dynamics that Ms. Bruck writes on are present everywhere, but it is difficult to imagine anywhere that they are seen in such extremes.
    I highly recommend this book.

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  2. Kindle Customer says:
    30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A groundbreaking book in its day. One that is still great, February 14, 2003
    By 
    Kindle Customer (Richmond, Ky USA) –

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Predators’ Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the JunkBond Raiders (Paperback)
    This book was the first real insight into the world of junk bonds, Drexel Burham Lambert and what an important role they played in the business world. Written at a time when Drexel was at its peak, it was a groundbreaking, highly acclaimed book.
    Connie Bruck ranks along with Joe Nocera as one of the world’s best business writers. This book is tremendously readable and gives a balanced but insightful look at Michael Milken.
    I came away from the book with the idea that Milken was a genius who earned his great fortune with 18 hour work days. and I still believe he had a tremendous and positive contribution to the world.
    the Some of my friends came away from the book with the idea that Milken was a horrible human being who was ruining the country. The beauty of the book is that it you can read it and draw your own conclusions rather than a writer’s preconceived ideas.
    Buy it and read it again. It is worth always owning.
    Don McNay…

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  3. mirasreviews says:
    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The Junk Bond King When Much of Corporate America Was His Fiefdom., January 28, 2006
    By 
    mirasreviews (McLean, VA USA) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)
      
    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: The Predators’ Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the JunkBond Raiders (Paperback)
    “Predator’s Ball” follows the rise of the junk bond market, from Michael Milken’s ambitions in the 1970s through Drexel Burnham’s dominance of the market under Milken’s leadership in the 1980s, including Drexel’s controversial financing of high-profile hostile takeovers, to the beginning of legal trouble for Drexel in 1986. Author Connie Bruck interviewed hundreds of people over a 2 ½-year period, including Drexel employees and Drexel clients, to learn what went on inside “the Department”, Drexel’s mythic Beverly Hills junk bond offices. Bruck becomes increasingly critical of Michael Milken’s tactics as the book progresses, but it is worth noting that she did not set out to write an exposé. Bruck approached the project with sympathies “more toward Milken and his band of renegades than toward the corporate establishment they were attacking”, but years of peering inside the Department changed her mind. Regardless of where your sympathies lie, there is a lot of admirable research and fascinating detail in “The Predator’s Ball”.

    The story of the junk bond market is the story of Michael Milken’s single-minded rise to power. Milken WAS the market, as they say. Accordingly, most of “The Predator’s Ball” is dedicated to Milken’s ambition to fund a new generation of businesses with high-yield low-rated bonds (“junk bonds”), his creation of a department at Drexel that embodied his unique views of productivity and capitalism, and the ways and means to Drexel’s utter domination of the junk bond market in the 1980s. Milken’s larger than life presence is nearly absent, however, from the book’s three longest chapters, which detail successful hostile raids financed by Drexel: Nelson Peltz and Peter May’s buyout of National Can, Carl Icahn takes TWA, and Ron Perelman’s acquisition of Revlon. These chapters are something of a digression in the Milken story, as he was not front and center in the drama, but they provide blow-by-blow accounts of exactly how these leveraged buyouts worked and insight into the realities of LBOs. Michael Milken created a market for junk bonds where there was almost none, sought 100% market share for Drexel, and used that market to change the face of corporate America. He did it by astutely and commendably flouting convention, but did he flout ethics and law as well? Judge for yourself.

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