A Greedy Grab For Chrysler

Say what you will about the corporate raiders of the '80s, they scared the daylights out of complacent chief executives. In their drive for a quick buck, the greenmailers, the leveraged buyout crowd, and the takeover artists forced companies to shake off years of bureaucratic lethargy, cut expensive layers of management, and dispose of marginal operations. Although they wildly overpaid for some assets (witness RJR Nabisco) and even trashed a few companies (witness Revco and Fruehauf), the raiders collectively constituted a market force for positive change. The current surge in productivity results in large part from their short-term, shareholder-driven behavior. So you might think Kirk Kerkorian's $55-a-share bid for Chrysler Corp. is in the finest tradition of doing well by doing good.

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