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Mergers: A Bit of Mania for 2005

By Steve Rosenbush

Everyone remembers the tech bubble. But the period from 1998 to 2000 was also remarkable for the historic boom in Wall Street dealmaking. Back then, mergers, acquisitions, and public offerings were often far more critical to building market capitalization than traditional business activities such as marketing, sales, and generating profits. Wall Street manufactured deals worth a stunning $1.5 trillion a year during that period, doubling prior records.

Then, of course, the bubble burst in early 2000, taking the stock market down and the economy along with it. Dealmaking all but dried up: Volume dropped to less th

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