Entries by Bud Hartley

A Seller’s Market for Uranium

On 04/02/08, a New York Times article titled “Report Prods U.S. on Sale of Highly Priced Uranium” inspired us to take a Negotiator’s viewpoint on disparities in value between parties. The US government is sitting on an inventory of partly processed uranium… formerly viewed as unwanted waste that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars […]

Amazon & the Service Level Agreement

There is a fundamental principle you should remember when negotiating. Ask yourself, “What problem am I trying to solve?” before you settle on terms and/or prices. Recently, Amazon experienced outages in their Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), which provides scalable storage and retrieval to Amazon marketplace vendors.  The Service Level Agreement (SLA) says that Amazon […]

Where are we meeting?

Your place or mine?  When setting a negotiation meeting do you do it at your location, your “adversary’s” location, or a “neutral corner”?  Not long ago, in the news, we read, “The aircraft maker Airbus [was] among half a dozen companies to sign roughly $30 billion in contracts… with Chinese partners.”  It happened in Beijing.  […]

BEA and Oracle (Part 3)

When last we looked, BEA had asked for $21/share, Oracle had offered $17, and key shareholder Carl Icahn was threatening the BEA board with a lawsuit to force action on the offer.  Now everyone is in agreement at $19.375.  What happened?  It’s negotiation leverage and the Negotiation Success Range™ (NSR™) in action. Disclaimer: we know […]

Learning from the Stock Market

On the CBOE, the VIX® Index is sometimes said to be a “fear index”.  It uses a blend of buy and sell options for the S&P 500 index to measure volatility and predict stock movement.  At K&R, we find that fear plays just as importantly in negotiations, and leads to certain predictability in transactions. Often […]

Cerebrus Capital Management & United Rentals Inc.

What do you do if you think you agreed to pay too much?  Let’s turn to the financial pages for an example.  But before we begin – we don’t have any inside knowledge about this deal, and we don’t know which side is telling the truth.  It just makes for an enlightening negotiation topic. In […]

How Expensive is a Public Embarrassment?

Suppose you are a toy manufacturer located in China.  The news is full of stories of contaminated toys.  Plenty of unfounded rumors are tagging along.  One of your key customers is re-negotiating a contract that is important to you, and price (as always) is an issue.  Your customer raises the quality concerns.  The customer talks […]

Toray Industries (Japan) and Boeing

How do you act when you are the incumbent?  In a Bloomberg.com article, Boeing is reported to be in talks with Japan’s Toray Industries regarding a possible 40% increase in Boeing’s orders for carbon fiber reinforced materials.  The materials are used in building the Boeing 787 airplane, and are Toray’s most profitable line of business.  […]


If better negotiating is about being better able to express your value, how good are people at expressing value?  Buyers pay for value, which is not to be confused with price.  If you heard, “this is a $40,000 car, but I will sell it to you for $32,000”, what would you think?  You would most […]

An RFP at Hyperactive Technologies

Is a Request For Proposal (RFP) a valuable offer to buy, or an attempt by the buyer to commoditize your offering?  An October New York Times article about artificial intelligence software for restaurant order flow management contained an interesting comment: “Just last week, [founder Joseph] Gagnon [said] the company received its first ‘request for a […]