Mergers: Will They Ever Learn?

Here they go again. Yet another wave of merger mania is sweeping through Corporate America. The value of all announced deals in the first nine months of this year hit $248.5 billion, passing the record full-year total of $246.9 billion for 1988, according to Mergerstate, a merger research service. And this time it's different, right? These acquisitions are not like the conglomerates of the '60s, which have since broken up. They're not like the debt-laden leveraged buyouts of the '80s, most of which didn't fare any better. No, these are strategic deals, designed to be smart, friendly, full of synergy, and great for shareholders.

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