As it turns out, you don’t have to buy an internet company to lose your shirt. You can do it buying something as boring as a “medical device manufacturer.” That’s what happened to Boston Scientific, according to this long and detailed account of The Deal Gone Wrong in Fortune.
It’s no use trying to summarize it, so we’ll give you the set-up. (But be warned. The article is long. You’ll probably want to print it up and read it on the way to happy hour.)
On a warm August evening in Manhattan, the former leaders of medical-device maker Guidant joined their investment bankers in a private room at the tony Bouley restaurant to celebrate the sale of their company to Boston Scientific. Sipping rare bordeaux, they marveled over the wild bidding war between Boston and rival Johnson & Johnson, which had netted them a premium price of $27.3 billion for their company, reeling from a series of damaging product failures.
Boston Scientific had held its own bash on May 1, just after the deal closed. Boston's investment bankers, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, organized the feast at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. But the day of the event, thunderstorms in the New York area played havoc with arriving flight schedules. Boston co-founder Pete Nicholas, CEO Jim Tobin, and CFO Larry Best sat for hours in a drafty hangar on Hanscomb Field in Bedford, Mass., while their lawyers and investment bankers, as well as lower-level executives, partied into the night. The stormy weather turned out to be an omen, because while the lawyers and bankers were of course well paid for their efforts, the deal turned into a deluge of bad days for the Boston brass.
The (second) worst deal ever [Fortune]