The Superstars of Merger

Behind a record wave of acquisitions are investment bankers and huge fees

They all work within a few minutes' walk from one another, either on Wall Street or in midtown Manhattan. They operate with the secrecy of KGB agents and the cold nerves of hired gunslingers. In a matter of hours they can build up a corporate empire or cause a company to vanish. Their services command huge fees, yet they are among the least known men in American business.

The members of this elite group, who number no more than a score, are the...

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