Raiders on The Run: The Big Comeuppance

The Big Comeuppance Once the scourge of boardrooms, marauders no longer get much respect

I was a big man yesterday but boy, you oughta see me now.

For the corporate raiders who amassed fabulous fortunes in the 1980s, that sad song has begun to seem painfully true. Armed chiefly with bravado and borrowed cash, such buccaneers as T. Boone Pickens, Paul Bilzerian and Canada's Robert Campeau once made boardrooms tremble and the stock market dance. No longer. More jeered than feared, many raiders are mired in debt, saddled with bankrupt companies or deprived of their clout. Others who profited from the buyout binge face public obloquy or even years in jail.

The raiders have often...

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