Stacking the deck

Excerpts: Stacking the Deck

  • Leo Hindery’s place at the centre of America’s cable and telecom industry over the past two decades has been obscured by men whose lives are really spent in the headlines—Rupert Murdoch, John Malone or AT&T’s Michael Armstrong. But this has given Mr. Hindery something that every author craves, an inside view on how these men work to try and club each other into oblivion.
  • On finishing business school in 1971, Mr. Hindery signed up to a quintessential 19th-century industry, a mining company named Utah International, where he quickly learned two important lessons. The first was the knowledge gained from helping buy up other mining companies. The second was the insight that came when the company was sold to GE. The move cost Mr. Hindery his job and led him to conclude that making deals was better than being dealt.
  • In 1986 Mr. Hindery went to work for the Chronicle Publishing Company, a San Francisco newspaper-owner that, like many old-fashioned publishers, had made some useful acquisitions but could not separate the gold from the dross. Buried in its portfolio was a small holding in cable television. Unable to convince Chronicle to invest further, Mr. Hindery put up $20,000 of his savings for a cable venture of his own; 250 deals later, his company, Intermedia Partners, was sold in the late 1990s at a profit to Mr Hindery of more than $100m with similar gains for the other investors.

Source: The Economist