When A Merger Turns Messy

Prudential's takeover of Volpe Brown: How not to acquire an investment bank

Prudential Insurance Co. has struggled for years to make a name for itself in investment banking, with mixed results. But don't let it be said that Prudential Securities Inc.'s travails have been for naught. There is much Wall Street aspirants can learn from Prudential's most recent setback, its $150 million acquisition of Volpe Brown Whelan & Co. at the tail end of 1999. Prudential's purchase of the San Francisco technology boutique was a management fiasco so complete that it serves as a primer on how not to acquire an investment bank.

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