Love on the rocks
The romance of a merger of equals rarely lasts long
PARIS and champagne. What better way to celebrate an engagement? But that was last July. On May 9th a terse joint statement from their bosses confirmed that Publicis and Omnicom, two advertising giants, would not be getting married after all. Instead, although they “maintain a great respect for one another”, the two companies have “jointly decided to proceed along our independent paths.” The only thing missing was a Gwyneth Paltrow-esque reference to “consciously uncoupling”.
巴黎和香槟 。还有比这更好的庆祝订婚的方法吗？但是这是去年六月的情况 。五月九号，Publicis 和 Omnicom 这两家广告巨头的老板发表简短的联合声明，称两家公司最终不会结合在一起 。相反，尽管他们“对另一方保持有相当的尊重”，但两家公司“一致决定沿着各自的方向发展” 。唯一欠缺的是格温妮丝·帕特罗式引用的“有意识的分开” 。
Anyone connected with the two firms should probably count himself lucky that they uncoupled before rings were exchanged. Corporate marriages often go wrong, but mergers of equals—in which two firms of roughly similar size combine, there is neither buyer nor target and typically no cash changes hands—account for a disproportionate share of the most notorious failures. Before making a comeback as the latest merger wave gathered force, they had deservedly gone out of fashion after some disastrous couplings around the turn of the century.
两家公司的相关人员都应该庆幸双方没有在交换戒指之后分手 。合作婚姻常常步入歧路，但是两个拥有近乎同等规模的公司之间没有买家也没有目标方并以无现金易手为特征的平等合并，在最臭名昭著的失败案例中占据着一个不成比例的份额 。还没从积蓄着力量的最大的并购潮中恢复过来，这些公司在经历了世纪之交进行的一些灾难性结合后，理所当然地落伍了 。
When Travelers and Citibank unveiled their merger of equals in April 1998, Sandy Weill, one co-chief executive of the aspiring financial powerhouse, Citigroup, pledged to share with his co-boss, John Reed, the “lucky” office fireplace he insisted on having built. There was not to be much toasting of marshmallows together. Barely a year later Robert Rubin, a former treasury secretary, was hired to make peace between the feuding couple. In February 2000 Mr Reed quit thisménage à trois. Large chunks of Citigroup have since been offloaded, as if to confirm that the merger should never have been consummated in the first place.
当旅行家集团和花旗银行在1998年4月公布它们的对等合并后，这家有抱负的金融集团—花旗集团的联席执行官Sandy Weil承诺和他的合伙人John Reed 分享他强调已经建好的“幸运”办公室壁炉 。蜜月期并未持续多久 。仅仅一年，前任财政部长Robert Rubin 被雇来调解这长期不和的一对 。2000年1月，Reed先生退出了这一三角家庭 。大部分花旗集团资产被转卖，似乎为了证实这一并购当初就不该达成 。
In May 1998 Daimler and Chrysler announced their union, creating a giant German-American carmaker. Two years later Jürgen Schrempp, by now in sole command, having seen off Robert Eaton, the former boss of Chrysler, claimed that the term “merger of equals” had been used only for “psychological reasons”. The marriage struggled on until May 2007, when a divorce was announced. Worst of all was the merger in January 2000 of Time Warner, a media giant with 70,000 staff and revenues of $27 billion, with AOL, an internet firm whose 12,000 employees generated less than $5 billion. To symbolise their devotion to power-sharing, Steve Case, boss of new-economy AOL, wore a tie to the press conference celebrating the deal while Gerald Levin, boss of old-economy Time Warner, turned up without one. Months later the dotcom bubble burst, making a fool of Mr Levin, who announced his retirement in December 2001. In 2009 AOL was spun off. Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner's current boss, calls the merger the “biggest mistake in corporate history”.
1998年五月 戴姆勒和克莱斯勒宣布了它们之间的联合，形成了一个德美汽车制造巨头 。两年后，目睹了克莱斯勒前老板罗伯特·伊顿离开的约尔·施伦普现在大权独揽，称“对等合并”条件只适用于“心理原因” 。这场婚姻挣扎到了2007年5月，直到被宣判离婚 。最糟糕的并购是2000年1月发生在拥有70,000员工、270亿美元资产的传媒巨头时代华纳和拥有12,000员工以及不超过50亿美元资产的互联网公司美国在线之间之间 。为了表示它们之间相互扶持的决心，新经济型公司美国在线公司的老板斯蒂芬·凯斯打了一条领带出席了庆祝交易成功的媒体发布会，而老牌经济型公司时代华纳的老板杰拉尔德·莱文则没有打领带 。几个月后互联网泡沫破灭，嘲讽了2001年12月退休的莱文先生 。2009年美国在线被踢出局 。时代华纳的现任老板杰夫·比克斯称此次并购为“公司史上最大的失误” 。
Although the deals have since been smaller and fewer, the tales of woe have continued. After failing in 2001 to complete a merger because they could not agree on how to share power, Alcatel, a French telecoms-equipment firm, and Lucent, an American rival, eventually tied the knot in 2006. The combined firm's share price has slumped through a series of bosses. Now there is talk of a possible merger with Nokia, a Finnish rival. In February 2012 Glencore and Xstrata, two mining giants with headquarters in Switzerland, agreed on a merger of equals, only for Glencore to change its tune before the deal went through and insist that its boss, Ivan Glasenberg, take sole charge of the combined firm. Duke Energy behaved even more brazenly after completing its merger with Progress Energy in July 2012. As part of the deal, Jim Rogers, Duke's boss, had agreed that William Johnson, Progress's boss, would run the combined firm, and he would be executive chairman. That was honoured for roughly two hours, before the board that had just appointed Mr Williams as chief executive fired him and gave Mr Rogers the job. Lesson for any boss considering a merger of equals: ensure your firm gets at least half of the members of the new company's board.
尽管交易变得越来越少、越来越小，悲伤的故事依旧在继续 。在2011年因为无法达成如何共享资源而并购失败之后，法国电信设备公司阿尔卡特和美国竞争者朗讯公司最终在2006年喜结连理 。联合公司的股价在经历了一系列的老板之后下跌 。现在有关于芬兰对手诺基亚公司存在可能的并购者的言论出现 。2012年2月两个总部在瑞士的矿业巨头嘉能可和斯特拉塔集团达成了对等合并，只是要求嘉能可在交易进行前改变它的调子并坚持它的老板伊凡·格拉森博格独掌联合公司 。杜克能源在2012年6月完成了与Progress Energy的并购之后表现得更加无耻 。作为交易的一部分，杜克公司的老板吉姆·罗杰斯同意Progress公司的老板威廉·约翰逊运行联合公司，并且他会成为执行主席 。这是只有两个小时的荣耀，刚刚任命威廉先生作为首席执行官的董事会开除了他并把这一职务交给罗杰斯先生 。每一位考虑对等合并的老板都要考虑一个教训：确保你的公司拥有至少一半的新公司董事会成员 。
The aggregate data on mergers of equals reinforce the message of these sorry tales. On average, mergers have a mixed record, rewarding sellers' shareholders a bit more than they hurt buyers'. But equity deals and large deals tend to do worse, notes Steven Kaplan of the University of Chicago: “Mergers of equals are both large and typically done with stock rather than cash.”
对等合并的综合数据证实了这些令人遗憾的故事 。通常，并购者有一个混合记录，损害买方的利益来给予卖方股票持有者更多的好处 。但是对等交易和大宗交易更加糟糕，芝加哥大学的斯蒂芬·卡普兰提到：“对等合并方规模都很大，并且典型的是用股票替代现金来交易 。”
From Omnicom to Omnishambles
So why does anyone enter into such a deal? Both firms tend to be big and similar, which holds out the possibility of lots of lucrative cost-saving. Yet their similar size makes it hard for either boss to make a convincing case for taking sole charge. Bosses tend to have planet-sized egos, believing they can make anything work, including the combination of incompatible corporate cultures. That proved a task too far for Omnicom and Publicis. The bosses even convince themselves they can share power—or each believes that, if not, he can see off the other. Yet all too often, merger of equals “effectively translates into rudderless behemoth,” says Peter Clark, one of the authors of “Masterminding the Deal”, a book on how to execute mergers. “Everything has to be checked so many times to ensure that everyone is on board, and competitive speed is lost.”
那么为什么人人都想进入这样的交易中呢？双方企业规模都很大并且相似，这就会提供很多可能有利的成本缩减 。然而他们相似的规模使得任意一方的老板都很难令人信服地获得独控权 。老板们的自我意识都很强，相信自己可以使得一切运转自如，包括公司文化矛盾的整合 。这对于宏盟集团和阳狮集团来说是一项不可能完成的任务 。老板们甚至说服自己相信，他们能够分享权力—或者说每个人相信，如果不是的话，他会让别人离开 。因而对等并购常常像《策划交易》一书作者之一彼得·克拉克所说的那样—“有效地变成无领导的庞然大物” 。“所有的事情都必须要好好检查很多次确保每一个人都在船上，这样竞争速度就丢掉了 。”
The rare merger of equals that succeeds, such as the creation of Lockheed Martin, a defence firm, in 1994, or of ConocoPhillips, an oil giant, in 2001, tends to have a detailed integration plan agreed in advance, and one boss who is eager to retire as soon as possible. Typically, neither is the case. Their record is so bad that any talk of a merger of equals should set alarm bells ringing. You have been warned, shareholders of Lafarge and Holcim (two European cement firms that agreed such a deal last month). Forget the romance of power-sharing; when it comes to the tricky business of making a merger work, someone must be in charge.
少数几个对等并购成功的例子，例如1994年的洛克希德马丁防御武器公司和2001年的石油巨头康菲公司趋向于提前达成一个详细的综合计划，并且其中一个老板迫切的希望尽快退休 。典型的，没有一个是这样的例子 。他们的记录很糟糕，以至于任何有关于对等并购的话题都会敲响警钟 。你已经被警告了，拉法基公司以及霍尔希姆公司的股权人 。忘记权力分享的浪漫吧；当涉及到狡猾的使并购进行的事项中时，必须有人来掌控局面 。
1.connect with 使有关系；与…连接
But will young people be as keen to raise money and connect with friends to support the president?
Participants connect with each other in person and online to share their experiences and challenges.
2.account for 导致，引起
Do women account for more of today's affairs?
Philosophers had long wondered how to account for essences.
3.pledge to 承诺
Will the markets reward the government for its a pledge to eliminate public borrowing?
Did the oil companies follow through with their pledge to create a rapid-response mechanism for future spills?
4.turn up 翻起；出现
And most of those eyes turn up on friday and saturday nights.
I hope some of those photos turn up in campaign ads one day.