cover image Merger Masters: Tales of Arbitrage

Merger Masters: Tales of Arbitrage

Kate Welling and Mario Gabelli. Columbia Business School, $29.95 (408p) ISBN 978-0-231-19042-8

This insular presentation from Welling, the publisher of the financial journal Welling on Wall St., and Gabelli, the CEO of Gamco Investors Inc., consists of a hyperfocused roundup of top merger investors. As the authors explain, arbitrage investors take the name for their field from the French, eschewing the English equivalent “scalpers”; they work in mediated mergers, trading securities involved in announced corporate events in order to manage the trader’s risk, should the event—which could be a merger, or a reorganization—fall through. This ensemble-cast portrait of both traders (“arbs”) and CEOs offers a glimpse into the backgrounds of successful financiers, including their career paths, successes, and failures. The authors have crafted profiles for such luminaries as Paul Singer, Jeffrey Tarr, and Guy Wyser-Pratte. Though the subjects’ experiences vary, one thing unites them: all 21 are white (and 19 are men). The authors missed a crucial opportunity to broaden the image of who a trader is, and the result is a disappointingly familiar dog-and-pony show of the 1%. (Nov.)