That's A Reach, Sir James Goldsmith

The raider springs a daring $21 billion bid for B.A.T

British investors have long resisted highly leveraged buyouts, looking at them as a woolly American phenomenon -- interesting at a distance but unacceptable at close range. Last week Sir James Goldsmith forced them to take another look by launching a surprise $21 billion hostile bid for B.A.T Industries (1988 revenues: $29 billion). Backed by investors Kerry Packer, the Australian industrialist, and Jacob Rothschild, the British financier, Goldsmith plans to break up the sprawling London-based conglomerate and "liberate" far-flung divisions that sell everything from cigarettes (Kool, Viceroy) to insurance in more than 40 countries.

Even in a European marketplace aswarm with mergers...

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