24 October, 2020

How Steel Flashed

The epic corporate battle of Mittal's takeover bid of Arcelor, fought against a backcloth of cultural anxiety

How Steel Flashed
This is the story of the defining battle of globalisation between Mittal and Arcelor, one an NRI who has built up a fortune in making steel around the world and the other an established European steel company with its headquarters in Luxembourg and operations across France and Spain. Over the first six months of 2006, the Mittal attempt to buy Arcelor by appealing to shareholders over the heads of an old-fashioned and smug board of directors was the stuff of headlines in financial media worldwide. What should have been a boring technical story on the back pages of the Financial Times became front page news as the bid was seen not just as a business deal but a civilisational battle between Old Europe, cultured and haughty, and a family of intrepid Indians.

The CEO of Arcelor, Guy Dolle, appears as the villain in this story, stumbling unthinkingly into racist jibes about the Mittals’ monnaie de singe—monkey money, literally, but funny money is what he meant. It gets worse as politicians in France, Luxembourg and Belgium begin...



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