The General Mills/Parker Brothers Merger: Playing by
The story of a not-so-perfect pairing and the clash of cultures that precipitated the downfall of Parker Brothers.
In 1968 it seemed a corporate marriage made in heaven. General Mills (the Betty Crocker Company) had wooed and won Parker Brothers (makers of Monopoly). For more than a decade Parker Brothers thrived under General Mills' hands-off management. Then cyclical ups and downs in the toys and games marketplace shattered the marital bliss. Parker Brothers went from boom to bust twice between 1977 and 1984. In 1985 Parker Brothers was divested-a victim of one of the most massive restructurings in Wall Street history. Ellen Wojahn reaches deep down into the histories and personalities of these two companies, dramatically depicting the clash of culture that spelled doom for the General Mills/Parker Brothers merger.
From the back cover blurb:
Back in 1968 it seemed a corporate marriage made in heaven. General Mills (the Betty Crocker company) had wooed and won Parker Brothers (makers of MONOPOLY, the world's best-selling board games). For more than a decade Parker Brothers thrived under General Mills' generous, hands-off management. Then inevitably, cyclical ups and downs in the toys and games marketplace shattered the marital bliss. Parker Brothers went from boom to bust twice during the 1977-1984 heyday of electronic and video games. In 1985, its workforce and revenues halved, Parker Brothers was divested, a victim of one of the massive restructurings in Wall Street history. The company re-emerged as twenty percent of a new company called Parker Kenner Toys, Inc.
Ellen Wojahn reaches deep into the histories and personalities of these two companies. Drawing on over 100 hours of interviews and extensive documentation, she explores the fast-paced hustle of the toys and games industry with the methodical world of foods, dramatically depicting the clash of culture that spelled doom for the General Mills/Parker Brothers merger. Her words provide a cautionary note for other "perfect pairings": "Companies are not MONOPOLY properties, worth face value plus that of their houses and hotels. Companies are cultural and creative entities unto themselves -- with business personalities of their own, and a social and economic worth that ought to extend beyond the current popularity of their products. Even under the most liberal of parents, they are probably better off on their own."
From Book News, Inc.:
Journalist Wojahn takes a critical look at the 1968 merger of food giant General Mills and game industry leader Parker Brothers. Drawing upon over 100 hours of interviews with persons involved in the merger, she traces the events that led up to the divestment and restructuring of Parker Brothers in 1985 and assesses what went wrong. The volume was originally published by AMACOM in 1988 under the title Playing by Different Rules: the General Mills Parker Brothers Merger. Annotation ©2003
Ellen Wojahn is a native of Minnesota. Following a six-year stint in radio news, she reported on management and public policy issues for a Minneapolis-based business publication. In the early 80s she was a senior writer for INC. Magazine. She continues to write, edit, and speak on topics of business management and entrepreneurship. She resides in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband and two children. Photo from back cover.
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