Giant Deal Tombstones For Giant Deals (Including The Deal Toy Most Likely To Be Stolen)

December 11, 2022 by David Parry
Deal Tombstones

In over 40+ years of operation, The Corporate Presence has helped celebrate a number of very large transactions—and created a number of very large deal tombstones.

How large?

One of the deal tombstone designs featured below tips the scales at 8 pounds, or roughly the weight of a gallon of water.

Taking into account the value of the underlying deal it commemorates, that works out to about $160 million per pound.

Another tombstone shown here recognizes two related transactions, and stands at 12″ high.

That works out to about $9.1 billion…per inch.

A well-designed tombstone tends to attract a good deal of attention, whether it’s in an office, reception area, or conference room. That is, after all, one rationale for deal toys: bringing attention to your brand.

But the combination of outsize dimensions and stratospheric values can make these particular designs especially alluring.

In fact, over the years we’ve come to recognize one of designs included here as The Deal Tombstone Most Likely to be Stolen.

Which one is it?

No, it isn’t the tombstone shown above.

It isn’t even the one we designed to recognize the IPO of Facebook…or Twitter…or Google.

But it is here—and rightfully so.

Find out below.

What’s the Big Deal…and Deal Tombstone?

The size of a deal toy isn’t always a function of the value of the deal it recognizes.

For instance, Dell’s 2016 acquisition of EMC was commemorated by a relatively simple curved Lucite design.

And that transaction, one of a number of landmark tech deals we’ve handled over the years, was worth $67 billion.

That said, there does seem to be a fairly well-established correlation between size and value.

MGM Lion Deal Tombstone

A Tombstone Showcasing a Beloved Brand Mascot

Brand mascots have long provided a ready, if overlooked, source of creative tombstone ideas. The centerpiece of this foot-tall design, Leo the Lion, was originally inspired by an MGM designer’s alma mater (Columbia), and adopted by the studio in the 1920’s.

The 8-lb. wood design marks a 2009 public offering by MGM Mirage.

But Leo is no longer associated with the Mirage. In 2021, MGM sold the 77-acre Las Vegas resort, famed for its iconic, fire-spewing volcano, to Hard Rock International.

Commemorating an Iconic Retailer (and Product)
You know a product has achieved iconic status when it’s taken up as a verb—as in Mr. Potato Heading a cocktail.Showcasing a product is a certain way to differentiate a deal tombstone, and heighten its perceived value. In the design featured at the top, another 8-pounder, the product was one closely associated with the retailer Toys “R” Us.Among other accolades, Mr. Potato Head is also an inductee in the National Toy Hall of Fame, an actual institution housed within the Rochester, New York-based National Museum of Play.

A Dual Record-Holding Tombstone—10 Years Later

You had to clear out some shelf space for this 2013 deal tombstone, which measured 12″ high and 10 1/2″ across.

But the size of the deal—or in this case, deals—seems to have justified making the necessary room.

The $49 billion debt deal was, as billed here, was the largest bond offering of all-time, a distinction it still holds almost 10 years later (the current runner-up is the $46 billion 2016 sale by Anheuser-Busch InBev).

And then you’ve got the bridge facility.

Here again, almost 10 years afterwards, the stated record still stands.

The bridge loan was the largest-ever for a corporate issuer. That record seemed in jeopardy when a $100 billion loan package was put together for Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm (neither the loan or the deal itself ultimately went through).

The current runner-up in the category falls about $4 billion short: the syndicated $57 billion bridge loan in 2016 in support of Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto.

Heinz-Buffett Deal Tombstone

The Deal Tombstone Most Like to be Stolen

What is it about this tombstone?

It’s hard to pinpoint why, exactly, this piece seems so often over the years to have been lost/stolen/permanently borrowed.

It is the sheer power the brand has exerted on many of us since childhood? The mesmerizing effect of that distinctive bottle shape and label?

The size of the deal (almost $28 billion)?

Or maybe it’s just the Buffett cachet (though we’ve provided a number deal tombstones for Warren Buffett-related transactions over the years and none have shown anything approaching its short shelf life.)

Among the many fascinating aspects of this transaction was one we noted in our post on code name-inspired deal tombstones. The mammoth deal’s code name was doubly cryptic; it had multiple code names (these included Hawk, Penguin, Goose, and Owl.)

The True Value of Deal Tombstones

The true value of a deal tombstone can’t be calculated by either the pound or the inch. That value, the design’s perceived value, depends upon the recipients and is meant to convey (and recognize) the dedication and expertise among participants necessary to take a transaction from its inception to its closing.

Regardless of your deal’s size, or the size of the tombstone you hope to commemorate it with, The Corporate Presence can guide you to creative and effective design options. Reach out to us today.

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