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Successful Acquisitions by David Braun

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“What Business Are We In?”

Let’s admit it right away: This is a trick question. The correct answer is usually not the first answer. Here’s a classic example from the annals of corporate America: Union Pacific thought they were in the business of railroads—the commonsense answer. In reality, they were in the business of mass transportation. Had they recognized this early enough, they might today be flying planes or building hybrid cars. Here’s a more recent example. A client of ours supplying the upper end of the bicycle industry thought they were in the business of making brake mechanisms. Their special capacity was in lightweight solutions, and we resolved that they were in fact in the business of making racing bikes faster. This realization ...

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