It is now curious to recall that ten years ago management buy‐outs were infrequent and largely ignored by those not directly involved, (Arnfield et.al., 1981). During the subsequent decade a previously unrecognised oddity has become not merely commonplace but a major force in restructuring the private sector and in privatising public services. In 1989 there were over 500 recorded management buy‐outs (MBO's) and associated deals to a total value of £7.5 billion. In the same year these transactions accounted for 22% of all mergers and acquisitions by value and almost one third by volume. Furthermore, in the latter half of the 1980s the MBO spread to Europe and now appears poised to become a major instrument in dismantling the state industries of Eastern Europe.
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