Chapter 11

The Value-Adding Conglomerates

The conglomerate type of organization has been, and remains, quite controversial. It has come in and out of favor at various times. Today the financial analysts begin shouting, “Break up!” at the first indication that a conglomerate is underperforming or misses its numbers. This was clearly the situation in 2008 with General Electric. Even before Jeff Imelt became the new CEO, he was getting advice from journalists on how to succeed a legend like Jack Welch. The advice always contained the suggestion to break up the conglomerate or at least “sell NBC.” GE sold 51 percent of NBC-Universal to Comcast in 2009, and in 2013, Comcast bought the remainder of the company.

In this chapter, we look at the evidence ...

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