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— Plenty of San Diego companies found that out. Wickes Companies went bankrupt in the 1980s because it couldn't service the debt it had taken on to buy a Minnesota diversified retailer. Debt also undid Intermark, a highly diversified conglomerate, which went bankrupt in 1992. Sunrise Medical moved to Carlsbad in 1994 and shortly discovered internal cooking of the books. In 2000, the company was sold for a low price. Rapid acquirers such as U.S. Financial, Westgate California, and Peregrine Systems failed because of fraud.

As it pursues its rapid acquisition strategy, K2 must not take its eyes off the ball -- particularly an oncoming paintball.

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