At a time when Goldman Sachs was being derided for treating its clients like "muppets," the $21 billion acquisition of rival pipeline company El Paso by Kinder Morgan (Fortune 500) seemed like yet another datapoint. Goldman advised El Paso on the deal. Yet, Goldman owned nearly 20% of Kinder at the time. Goldman's lead banker, too, was a Kinder shareholder. ,
Goldman's split loyalty, El Paso shareholders later said, resulted in a lower price for their company. A Delaware judge heavily criticized Goldman and El Paso's board of directors for the conflicts of interest, but approved the deal anyway. Kinder ended up paying $110 million to settle the shareholder suit. Goldman had to forgo its $20 million fee.
Management changes, backpedaling, and a new sales contender. Some automakers had a great 2012, and some would like to move on to 2013.