We’ve updated “Perfecting the Art of the Deal,” a working paper that applies our research to potential mergers and acquisitions. Read the introduction below and click to download the entire article in PDF form.

There’s something important that is getting overlooked in all the coverage of the stunning news that Bank of America has had to line up $20 billion in assistance from the federal government to handle problems at Merrill Lynch, just days after closing the Merrill purchase.

That something is this: The problems are just beginning.

When Bank of America announced its deal to acquire Merrill Lynch in mid-September, we noted in this space that we were skeptical. Based on the research for our book, we thought Bank of America was making a classic mistake: focusing so much on the benefits of an acquisition that it glossed over the potential problems. Merrill seemed to be fraught with potential problems–and they are now coming into painfully clear focus