“There’s a human dynamic about the M&A thing. It’s like sex. M&A is fun. It’s one of those things that’s fun even when done badly. Hence, you have everyone trying it.”1

Thus spoke Dave Roux, cofounder of Silver Lake Partners, a private equity firm that manages over $13 billion in assets. Few truer words have been expressed about the intoxicating appeal of merger and acquisition activity among inhabitants of the executive suite.

In completing 145 self-funded acquisitions from 1985 to 2006, the leadership of Trader Publishing Company was similarly exhilarated by the thrill of the chase and the euphoria of striking deals. If done well, such acquisition efforts will succeed the way Trader did in growing to $1.3 billion in annual revenue ...

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