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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

An inside account of the multibillion-pound world of private equity and a masterclass on the art of deal-making. 

The Dealmaker is a frank and honest account of how a severely dyslexic child who struggled at school went on to graduate from Oxford and become a serial entrepreneur. 

It describes Guy Hand's career in private equity, first at Nomura and then as head of his own company, Terra Firma. It looks in detail at the huge deals that Terra Firma has done over the years, involving everything from cinema chains and pubs to waste management, aircraft leasing and green energy. And it offers a brutally honest appraisal of the one deal that turned sour - the acquisition of multinational music recording and publishing company EMI in 2007, just as a global financial crash loomed on the horizon. Above all, it takes the listener inside the previously very secretive world of private equity, explaining how this multibillion-pound sector operates and providing audio portraits of some of the larger-than-life figures who people it. 

Both insightful and engaging, it will prove inspirational and essential listening for all those concerned with or interested in the world of investment.

©2021 Guy Hands (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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Comes across as a bit of a T****r

This bloke is so far removed from normal people, it’s a joke. It’s all about him, selfish callous and self righteous and obviously doesn’t give a damn about anyone else. Unbearable to listen to. He needs to redo this book, touch on how he helped people, positive outcomes for all involved. Shocking story.

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Making the under toad disappear

In business, no one is as good as they think they are. And this is the main message of this memoir by former Terra Firma supremo Guy Hands. Born in South Africa and emigrating to England at the age of three, the young Hands was not short of confidence describing himself as "the most brilliant student his teacher had ever known" at the age of five and master of the school chess club. Dyslexia was to thwart his academic achievements and he had to literately blag his way into Oxford despite not having the grades to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics whilst rubbing shoulders with WIlliam Hague and the "stylish" Theresa May at the Oxford Student Conservative Society. Gaining an early interest in business as a door to door salesman (encyclopedias, double glazing and art) the natural progression was for Hands to enter the world of investment banking first at Goldman Sachs and then at Nomura where his reputation for a deal maker was founded with investments in Phoenix Pubs which reached 8,500 outlets, bookmaker WIlliam Hill and Angel Trains.
The natural progression was for Hands to form his own Private Equity fund with a spin off from Nomura and with his track record was able to raise funds to undertake adventurous investments including Odeon Cinemas.
Hands could seemingly do no wrong. Until, that is, he broke two of his own rules as making sure that he did not invest more than 10% of his fund in any one company and that he did not invest across funds. It may have been his love for popular music (each chapter in this book is prefaced by song lyrics) but "the dog" of EMI was to prove his downfall. Letting his emotions rule his thinking the lure of owning the best music catalog in the world was too much. Artists including the Rolling Stones and the surviving Beatles resented Hands involvement and the investment soon turned sour resulting in over seven years of litigation with Citigroup who provided debt finance for the deal. Further disappointing investments in Four Seasons Care Homes and Wyevale Garden Centres and poor returns to investors meant that Terra Firma were never to raise another blind pool fund again and Hands was restricted to investing from his own funds in more modest assets. Dismayed by Brexit but not minded to go into politics he decided to start Engage Britain which is a forum to encourage national participation in debate. The world according to Guy Hands is certainly eventful and the protagonist come over as more than your standard insecure overachiever. If only the EMI under toad had not raised its ugly head, then maybe Guy Hands' Terra Firma would have been as successful as Blackstone or Carlyle.

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Interesting insight into a flawed individual

Most people buying this book probably did so on the basis of his business success and wealth but this is a great insight into the flaws (yes flawed) characteristics needed to accumulate such wealth. Very honest and in the end I don’t envy the life he has lived. A great listen and well performed

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Interesting, but not inspiring.

I revered Guy, knew of him, knew of his works. It’s amazing motivation of a man clearly motivated to make something great, no matter the cost. Very interesting biographical story.

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Honest and brave, An inspiring recollection.

This is a brave book, where humility and pride are well balanced. It will inspire people with challenging childhoods and or learning challenges but also remind all readers that universal characteristics such as hard work, discipline, determination and ambition are a pre-requisite for any significant achievement. Simon Shepard's narration is also first class..

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Mind Blowing

Extremely helpful and motivational life experiences. Very compelling. Motivates me to go do deals.

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Interesting but disappointing

at times it felt this audiobook was Guy Hands editing the history books and feels a little indulgent on his part.

There are some interesting insights, but at times it was long winded. I'm pleased I had in an audiobook. I would not have bothered finishing it as a book.

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Content OK, Narration Poor

Content was OK, but the narration and editing were disappointing. Words and phrases clearly edited in after the initial recording, seemingly by a different (possibly digital) voice. Narrator uninspiring and incorrect pronunciation of basic business terms - Capex (capital expenditure) read as Kay-pex rather than Cap-ex. Overall, a disappointing ‘read’.

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Very enjoyable

If you are an entrepreneur or interested in business I think you will enjoy this book. It is big picture and about Guy’s business life experiences. I certainly found it compulsive listening.

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Dry and lacks dimension

Incredibly dry and although I am reluctant to say it, boring book. The telling of each business deal done is basically the same every time, he worked so hard and because he's so clever it all went great... He even passes off the single bad deal as being not his mistake because he was misled. The book is then sprinkled with his personal life, but they are just brief mentions of him going on extravagant holidays or buying big houses. I listen to books like this for the true human element or to learn something, unfortunately I was not entertained or informed whatsoever.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-12-21

honest memoir from the belly of private equity

Guy Hands offers a frank and incisive account of his life in finance, mostly in private equity. An unvarnished take, which also offers a broad anatomy of the sub-field