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Analysts at Goldman Sachs suggested Tuesday that, despite a 50 percent run-up in stock prices that has left the Dow Jones industrial average just shy of 10,000 and the S&P 500 selling at 20 times earnings, stocks are still cheap. In fact, according to Goldman, stocks are so cheap that corporations are going to start using all that cash on their balance sheets not for product development or marketing or some other productivity-enhancing investment, but for acquiring other companies.
In case you just fell off a turnip truck, you might think “Monetizing the M&A Revival” is serious research aimed at helping Goldman clients figure out how to profit from these uncertain times. The helpful analysts from Goldman even provided the names of companies they think are so underpriced that they are ripe for a takeover — companies like Devon Energy, AK Steel and Red Hat.
But those with any memory at all will probably recognize this report for what it really is: a marketing brochure for Goldman’s investment bankers, who are just itching to begin cranking up the old M&A machine and generating those big fees again. With deal flow, of course, comes an equally lucrative flow of new stock and bond issues to pay for all those ill-advised and overpriced acquisitions, along with increased volume on Goldman’s trading desk from speculators hoping to cash in on the latest takeover rumors.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”