Politics, Business -- It's All The Same When It's A Takeover

Posted on Sunday, January 22 at 09:33 by Anonymous
Of course, it's long been conventional wisdom that the money game in Canada is strictly split between public and private sector, with the two only making peace occasionally and more often meeting on the battleground. But for someone -- well, me, actually -- arriving from a background spent largely covering Bay Street and its knee-jerk derision of what goes on in the nation's capital -- what's striking isn't so much the much-publicized differences, but rather the striking similarities in goals, behaviour and limitations. Both are about power -- how to get it, and how to keep it. Both are about pleasing stakeholders, setting long-term plans, managing market expectations, dealing with increasingly diverse and complex expectations -- and bringing in a return that satisfies short- and long-term needs. And on the subject of term, the shelf-life of a private-sector CEO is now pretty much the same as any elected politician: four years. That doesn't leave a lot of time to move the tape. Just as CEOs are increasingly limited in their ability to execute strategy by the vagaries of global market conditions and random events (not to mention activist shareholders and skittish directors) so too are politicians -- however extravagant their promises. The vision thing just isn't what it used to be. Still, vision, and its communication, remains a key element in the often-messy aftermath of any takeover -- especially if it's a hostile play. And just as it was when upstart AOL (America Online) acquired venerable TimeWarner, size and experience don't affect the near-term outcome. Heck, even the language blurs the line. Conservative leader Stephen Harper, who has engineered the proposed takeover, deploys the jargon du jour of the boardroom each time he invokes accountability, governance and transparency. His claim that "the best is yet to come for Canada," echoes a CEO selling shareholders on a ploy for enhancing market value. Meanwhile, the incumbent Liberals are battling to convince Canadian stakeholders that their government is a "buy" -- or at the very least -- a "hold" rather than a "sell." http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=e2529825-9f62-4b1c-bef4-03a07263065e&k=96409 [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 22, 2006]

Note: http://www.canada.com/o...

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