Rjr: Big Buyout, Big Fizzle

"We were charging through the rice paddies, not stopping for anything and taking no prisoners," said Henry R. Kravis, leveraged buyout king and general partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., describing the bidding war for RJR Nabisco Inc. in the best-selling Barbarians at the Gate. Strange, how the biggest, wildest deal of the '80s, the $25 billion LBO of RJR is now so quietly coming to closure, ending a celebrated chapter of U.S. financial life.

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