February 18, 2011 4 Comments
‘Cold Steel’ is a mesmerising read.It is a narration of the takeover battle waged by Lakshmi Narayan Mittal against the management of Arcelor to emerge as the Emperor of Steel.
In 2006, the two largest steel-producers in the world-Arcelor and Mittal Steel, are in the middle of a bitter battle for total market domination
At first Lakshmi Mittal proposes a friendly merger with rival Arcelor, a pan-European company whose interested parties include the governments of Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium.
Arcelor’s mercurial CEO, Frenchman Guy Dollé, firmly refuses,using intemperate language.To quote,“The answer is clearly no…There are two categories of steel. There is premium-quality steel and there is commodity steel. It’s like, there’s perfume, that Arcelor specialises in, and then there’s a sort of eau de cologne which is Mittal’s domain… a lot more technology and grey matter goes into each tonne we sell.” ….. “Part of Mittal’s offer consists, if you’ll excuse the expression, of monnaie de singe.”(literally meaning “monkey money” or “funny money” or tainted money).These same words come back to haunt him later.
The refusal sets the scene for a massive hostile takeover involving billions of dollars of finance and government and shareholder manoeuvring. The corporate battle that ensues takes on epic proportions and becomes one of the world’s biggest and most hard-fought industry takeovers of recent years. It sends shockwaves through the political corridors of Europe, excites the world’s financial markets, enriches thirty hedge funds and transformes the global steel industry.The participants come from many different continents and include six billionaires, many of the world’s top investment bankers (interestingly with two brothers, pitted against each other, one working for Goldman Sachs and the other for Morgan Stanley),top law firms and public relations outfits , presidents , prime ministers and politicians occupying the highest positions in the current and emerging superpowers. Read more of this post