In the latest phase of AIG's
As we inch toward a conclusion of this fiasco, there's an important lesson here for investors: Beware of empire-builders. Former CEO Hank Greenberg assembled AIG with nearly the same appetite for dealmaking as Sandy Weill at Commercial Credit/ Primerica/Travelers Group ... Citigroup
Hitting the (business) history books
Didn't we learn anything from the adventures of Harold Geneen, the rapacious former CEO of ITT? In the 1960s, riding the wave of investor enthusiasm for conglomerates, Geneen bought more than 350 companies, including Avis Rent-a-Car, Sheraton hotels, Continental Baking, and The Hartford (now Hartford Financial Services Group
It is now clear that the main benefit of AIG and Citigroup's gargantuan scale and tentacular reach was simply an implicit government guarantee, which allowed these firms to obtain a funding advantage – the same model that served Fannie Mae
GE: Are you watching this movie?
Who else should be gleaning lessons from AIG? Although General Electric
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Fool contributor Alex Dumortier, CFA, has no beneficial interest in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.