DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®

Mergers&Acquisitions - Feb/99 and before
[Commentary] © 1998,1999 Philip Hyde, PO Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA - HOMEPAGE

2/27/99 Marsh & McLennan combines its brokerage businesses, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, C1.
...the world's largest insurance broker, has gathered its brokerage businesses under one holding company following $3.8 billion of acquisitions in the past two years.... The new holding company [Marsh Inc.] will unite Marsh & McLennan's brokerage business with London-based Sedgwick Group PLC, which it bought last year for $2.05 billion, and Johnson & Higgins, which was purchased for $1.8 billion in March 1997....
[Great, now the next step is obviously downsizing "to save money" etc.]

2/26 Developer Karp to sell 14 malls - Giant Simon Property to buy big portion of portfolio for $1.725b, by Chris Reidy, Bos Globe, E1.
Taking advantage of... rapid consolidation in the mall industry, local developer Stephen R. Karp agreed yesterday to sell off a big chunk of his mall operations to the nation's largest mall owner...which owns or has interests in 243 mall properties in the United States....
[Completed first phase of merger on Aug. 30, per "Simon Property takes control of 10 N.E. malls," Boston Globe 8/31/99, D9].

2/25 Commonwealth Energy sells [COM/Energy Marketing] unit to Reliant [Energy of Houston for $undisclosed], by Ronald Roseberg, Bos Globe, D9.
..."We...have found that marketing energy in the emerging unregulated arena requires the market power of a national or international company...," said Russell Wright, Commonwealth Energy System chief executive....

2/24 Cable firm to expand into N.E. with [$2.1b] buy, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D2.
COUDERSPORT, Pa. - Adelphia Communications Corp., the nation's 7th largest cable firm, agreed yesterday to buy FrontierVision Partners expand in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and New England.

2/24 Ascend sells off last portion of Stratus [S2 Systems to Baker Capital for c. $25m], Reuters via Bos Globe, D7.
Ascend...which is being acquired by Lucent...has sold the last of its telecommunications the two companies gird for battle with chief rival Cisco.... A private investment group will buy S2...a maker of electronic commerce software....
["has sold" - "will buy" - uh, Reuters, is this deal completed or not??]
Ascend, which agreed in January to be bought by Lucent [see below 1/14] in what is the largest-ever technology deal [$20b], bought the struggling Stratus in October for $822 million for its [SS7] software that helps run telephone networks....
[So much for Stratus' fault-tolerance specialty.]

2/23 Mergers hit electric, gas companies - Dominion Resources buying Consolidated Natural [Gas for $6.3b]
while Sempra acquiring KN Energy [for $1.8b], by Deena Beesley, Reuters via Bos Globe, D3.
...And a bidding war [erupted] for Las Vegas-based...Southwest Gas Corp., which...received an unsolicited takeover bid of $960 million from Southern Union Co. of Texas [after receiving a 12% lower bid from] Oneok December.

2/23 United Techologies will buy Sundstrand in $4.3 billion deal, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, D2.
Hartford-based...large-jet operation \and\ maker of Pratt & Whitney jet engines, agreed to buy...Rockford.Ill.-based [specialist] in small-engine power systems.

2/23 Swedish [Securitas AB] buys Pinkerton agency [for $384m], by Michael White, Ap via Bos Globe, D3.
...The combined company would have about 5% of the worldwide security market and 114,000 employees in more than 30 countries in Europe, North America, and Asia....

2/23 3Com Corp. to buy Andover's NBX for $90m - Deal likely to boost sales of firm's phone system, by Ronald Rosenberg, Bos Globe, D6.
...California-based 3Com does not expect to lay off any of NBX's 87 employees, although some may be offered jobs at its new East Coast headquarters in Marlborough, which will be opened next month. 3Com [already] employs more than 1,000 people in Massachusetts.

2/23 Primark to acquire British media firm [Extel for $32m], by Lynnley Browning, Bos Globe, D11.

2/21 EXCLUSIVE! [$767M] Buyout bombshell, Bos Globe, H2.
...New York investment firm [Evercore Partners] is buying [American Media] the publisher of...the National Enquirer and Star tabloids... - the most widely circulated weekly magazines after TV Guide.
[Ah yes, the "National Inspirer" - probably one of the few concerns that couldn't be worsened by takeover....]

2/20 Merrill buys [Cambridge's] D.E. Shaw [Financial Technology LP for about $25M], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, F1.
Merrill Lynch...agreed to buy...on-line brokerage technology business....

[And you thought animal doctors were smarter than people doctors! - ]
2/20 Making coordinated pet care pay off - Consolidation is changing marketplace as mom and pop clinics are sold to chains, by Jill Rosenfeld, Bos Globe, F1.
...Now, a wave of...consolidation that has swept up everyone from optometrists to undertakers [to people hospitals] has arrived on the doorstep of veterinary medicine. Six veterinary chains have been established since 1994 [such as VetCor of Hingham, and Healthy Pet...]...

[Service sector - ]
2/19 Dutch firm Aegon buys Transamerica for $9.7b - S.F. landmark is part of largest foreign takeover of US life insurer, by Eric Quinones, Bos Globe, C2.
...and its landmark pyramid-shaped headquarters [in San Francisco].... Transamerica is the latest company to be swept up in the financial services industry's global merger wave.
[If in trouble, huddle together, even if you're big corporations. But it still doesn't solve the trouble - which is the economic-stagnating effect of astronomical wealth concentration - "the more concentration, the less circulation" - "we split into those with money and no time, and those with time and no money."
[Background - ]
2/19 One by one, San Francisco's business institutions are bought up, Reuters via Bos Globe, C2.

  • ...Both of the city's biggest banks, Wells Fargo and BankAmerica Corp., have been swallowed up by out-of-state competitors in multibillion-dollar mergers.
  • Phone giant PacificTelesis has been grabbed by SBC Communications Inc. of Dallas.
  • Key downtown financial firms Montgomery Securities Inc. and Robertson Stephens Inc. have been subsumed by big-name conglomerates, the latter by BankBoston.

    2/19 Worcester area cable sold [for est. $605M] - Firm owned by Microsoft [co]founder [Paul Allen] gains 173,000 Mass. subscribers Charter Communications Corp...will buy cable systems in Massachusetts from closely held Greater Media Inc., [in] its fourth cable acquisition this year. The acquisition is Charter's second this week. [Billionaire-owner Paul] Allen, one of the world's richest people...would have more than 3.3 million subscribers through Charter once all of his purchases are completed [making Charter] the 7th-largest US cable company and the biggest privately held US cable operator....
    Allen, who bought Charter and Marcus Cable Properties Inc. for $7.7 billion...last year, has spent another $3.36 billion this year on cable purchases. St. Louis-based Charter on Monday said it would buy systems with more than 460,000 subscribers in 18 states from IinterLink Communications Partners and Rifkin Acquisition Partners. Last month, Charter agreed to buy and exchange systems in a three-way transaction with InterMedia Partners and Tele-Communications Inc. [adding] 260,000 subscribers. Earlier in January it bought four Southern California systems with 68,000 subscribers from American Cable Entertainment Co....
    Earlier yesterday Comcast Corp., the 4th-largest US cable company, said it would buy Greater Media's systems around Philadelphia for $264 million in stock..\.. Greater Media owner Peter Bordes said he decided to sell because it became clear only a few major cable systems will exist in the future....
    [Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies! Wait until they compact wealth so much that people can't even afford their cable TV subscriptions.]

    2/17 Zeneca shareholders likely to OK Astra buy [for $37B], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, D2.

    [Financial service sector - ]
    2/17 XL Capital to buy NAC Re [for c. $1.23B], Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D6.

    2/17 Evercore will acquire American Media [for $767M], by Kim Chapman, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D1.

    2/17 Delta announces $700m deal for regional carrier [Altantic Southeast], by Lynne Marek, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D2.

    2/17 Compaq to buy Zip2 Corp. [for over $220M] to bolster its AltaVista unit, by Scott Lanman, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D2.

    2/17 Analog Devices buys 2 processor makers [for under $100M], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, D9.

    2/17 Court OK's CML sale of Smith & Hawken [for $53M to creditors], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, D9.

    2/17 Nipsco to buy [TPC] unit from PacifiCorp [for $undisclosed], Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D2.

    [Acquisition incubator - ]
    2/17 Ekco chief says firm open to offers for sale, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D3.

    [Service sector - ]
    2/16 Crédit Suisse to buy Warburg Pincus unit [for $650 million], by Andrew Blackman, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, p. E2.
    ZURICH - ...Europe's fourth-largest bank agreed to buy US-based Warburg Pincus Asset Management Inc. to expand in the world's biggest financial-services market. The acquisition, expected to be completed by mid-1999, will boost Crédit Suisse's assets under management by about $22 billion to $680 billion.... Banks are turning their attention to asset management and private banking for steady earnings, after losing hundreds of millions in riskier businesses such as emerging-markets trading.
    Last year Merrill Lynch...the biggest US securities firm, paid about $5 billion for Mercury Asset Mgmt...the UK's biggest fund manager, to create the world's number three asset manager.... The latest round of asset-mgmt acquisitions is also driven by banks seeking profits as European and Asian governments overhaul pension systems, ["forcing"] people to save for their [own] retirements....
    [Looks like another hard-learned lesson from the 1930s that we're going to have to learn all over again. Remember the barber whose pension plan was "dying while standing behind the barber chair"? For more and more people, as our global Black Hole economy continues to concentrate corporate power and general wealth into the top income brackets and good jobs and training ever so slowly disappear, the only pension plan is Dial 800-KEVORKIAN.]

    [The Black Hole (dba the global economy) sucks yet more into its tiny massive core - ]
    2/15 Volvo reported in talks to buy rival truck maker Navistar [worth about $2.3b], AP via Bos Globe, A15.
    ...the Financial Times reported in today's editions....

    [Service sector - ]
    2/14 H&R Block agrees to buy [in $18m deal, Burlington] Mass. firm, AP via Bos Globe, F3.
    KANSAS CITY, Mo. - ...Assurance Mortgage Corp. of America...AMCA, which will continue to operate under that name with current management..\.. In 1997, Block bought Option One Mortgage Corp. of Santa Ana, Calif.... [AMCA] has 11 retail officers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire [while Block has a] nationwide network of nearly 8,800 tax officers.
    [Scary to think how many jobs depend on a complicated tax code under our featherbedding forty-hour workweek - frozen regardless of all post-1940 and future work-saving technology!]

    2/13 LeukoSite acquires [Cambridge, Mass.-based] CytoMed [for est. $18.6m], Ronald Rosenberg, Bos Globe. B4.
    in another sign of biotechnology industry a two-part stock deal....

    [Service sector - ]
    2/12 Federated to buy catalog giant Fingerhut [for $1.7b], by Christine Dunn, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, C2. ...The No. 3 US department-store company agreed to buy [the No. 2 catalog company] to speed its expansion on the Internet....

    [Service sector - ]
    2/12 EDS to buy [Systemhouse] unit of MCI WorldCom for $1.65b - Alliance will allow the companies to bid on larger computer contracts, by Loren Steffy, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, C3. part of a broader alliance that pairs the second-biggest US computer-services provider with one of the world's most aggressive telephone companies....
    [and just what other larger companies are going to survive to float all these 'larger computer contracts'? And just who's going to be left employed to provide markets for these larger companies?]
    The agreement is similar to a $5 billion pact between AT&T Corp. and IBM announced in December, and analysts said they expect to see more such alliances as the industry becomes more specialized....

    2/12 SEC approves Bay State, Nipsco merger, AP via Bos Globe, C5.
    ...will become the 10th largest US natural gas distribution company [no $ figures given]....
    [Whatever happened to *Small Is Beautiful, or even 'Variety is the spice of life'?]

    [Service sector - ]
    2/11 [Burlington, Mass. government-]software contractor AverStar buys Virginia company [for c.$24 million], by Ross Kerber, Bos Globe, C3.
    ...another computer services firm...Computer Based Systems Inc....

    [Service sector - ]
    2/09 Lycos, USA Networks to join forces, by Hiawatha Bray, Bos Globe, C1.
    ...Waltham Internet company plans to...merge with a host of [media mogul Barry Diller's] USA Networks properties..\ create a company with powerful positions in on-line, television, and real-world retailing.... Sources declined to put a precise value on the deal..\.. Called USA/Lycos Interactive Networks Inc, the firm will have 7,000 employees....
    [At least until management starts obsessing about "efficiency."]

    [Service sector - ]
    2/09 Chubb to buy Executive Risk [for $1B], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, C2.
    [A property and casualty insurer with a hot business (number 2 in US) insuring] executives and directors agreed to buy the number 3 company.... Property and casualty insurers are increasingly buying companies that specialize in faster-growing niches because premiums from traditional businesses are stagnating or declining.

    [Service sector - ]
    2/09 Computer Associates makes buy [for $435m], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, C2.
    ...A maker of software that runs PC networks and mainframe computers agreed to buy consulting company Computer Management Sciences Inc.... This is [Computer Associates'] fourth and biggest services-company acquisition since last March....

    2/03 Goodyear and Sumitomo Rubber reportedly forge $1 billion alliance - Rising inventories, falling sales prompt venture, analysts say, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, C2.
    AKRON - ...North America's biggest tire maker will acquire 10% of Sumitomo and take control of its US and European businesses.... Goodyear and Sumitomo, the number five tire maker, already make some tires for each other and together hold about 22% of the world's tire market. Tire makers' inventories have swelled and prices stagnated amid a drop in demand from Latin America and Asia. "There's just too much capacity out there," said Micahel Prospero, an analyst with PNC Institutional Investment Services. "Consolidation in that industry is a necessity."
    [But then, Michael, in a descending economic spiral, consolidation in every industry is a necessity. And the spiral of spending and monetary circulation continues to descend as long as wealth continues to concentrate. "The more concentration, the less circulation." Wealth piles up in the hands of those few with much money but little time to spend it, and drains out of the hands of those many with much time but little money. We have lacked a flexible and automatic design for balancing wealth concentration with circulation until Phil Hyde came up with market reinvestment capitalism and timesizing.
    [For the link to downsizings (2500 planned), see tomorrow's story (2/04) on our Downsizings page.]

    [Service sector - ]
    2/03 'Elevator music' firm, Muzak, sold for $350m, AP via Bos Globe, C7.
    ...[by] Centre Partners Mgmt, a private equity firm based in New York \to\ Audio Communications Network, the largest independent franchise of Muzak services in the nation....

    [Service sector - ]
    2/2 French firms join global wave of financial mergers - Société Generale, Paribas to unite in $17b deal, by Marcel Michelson, Reuters via Bos Globe, D3.
    PARIS -...creating Europe's second-biggest bank in equity terms....
    [During these pre-Depression periods, the weakened, redundant workforce cannot command wage raises on anything like the level and pace of technology-borne productivity leaps, so money concentrates astronomically in the top income brackets. The first result of this is that the financial markets soar on and on above all fundamentals, because the rich simply do not have time to spend it or give it away - they just keep throwing it into stocks by default. But notice that this explains stagnant markets, because "the more concentration, the less circulation" - of wealth. So the second result is that gigantic mergers and acquisitions abound - top management has a lot of money and stagnant markets so what's left for them to do? Merge And Acquire! (which, as you'll notice, they're always "driven" to do - see two headlines down - they need an excuse, you see) - But this leads to layoffs which further weakens and cheapens the workforce so - it's the Dreaded Duo: the Death Spiral into the Black Hole Economy!]

    2/2 Rohm & Haas to buy Morton for $4.9b in stock, cash, debt - Deal to create number two maker of specialty chemicals - Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D3.

    2/2 NEES will buy Eastern - $634m cash deal driven by utility deregulation, by Ross Kerber, Bos Globe, D1
    New England Electric System said it will buy Eastern Utilities Assocs...the latest in a series of combinations driven by the deregulation in the regional power industry.

    [Service sector - ]
    2/2 AOL to purchase MovieFone [for $388m], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, D2

    2/2 Alkermes pays $114m for Advanced Inhalation, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, D9.
    [We're not making this up!]

    2/2 Hub's Chancellor Asset acquires Atlanta's [Tomahawk Truck & Trailer Sales for $12.4m], Jerry Ackerman, Bos Globe, D9

    [The above six total $23 billion, but if we also include the Liberty Mutual deal on p. D3 under the Rohm & Haas story, our total is $25 billion - but we counted Liberty yesterday - see following story.]

    [And now we bring you - nested acquisitions! - ]
    [Service sector - ]
    2/01 [Boston-based] Liberty Mutual, French firm [Axa] to buy UK insurer - Reportedly will acquire Guardian Royal in $5.7b deal, Reuters via Bos Globe, A10.
    NEW YORK... Europe's second-largest insurer will make its bid through its majority-owned UK subsidiary, Sun Life & Provincial Holdings, for about 388 pence per Guardian Royal share. The offer will consist of about 65% cash and 35% stock.
    Liberty Mutual [the 8th-largest US property-casualty insurer] will buy Guardian Royal's US property-casualty insurance operations, which include The Netherlands Insurance Co., from Axa for about $1.54 billion.... The Guardian Royal acquisition would build on Liberty Mutual's deal last year to take control of Employers Insurance of Wausau from Nationwide Insurance Enterprise.

    [A little of this, a little of that - ]
    [Service sector - ]
    1/30 [Boston's] Affiliated Managers buys Conn. mutual fund group [Managers Funds LP], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, E1.
    ...Terms weren't disclosed....

    [Service sector - ]
    1/30 Flatley sells [all] 6 Mass. nursing homes [to Atlanta's Centennial HealthCare Corp.], by Alex Pham, Bos Globe, E1.
    ...for an undisclosed sum.... The nursing homes combined have 895 beds. Industry observers say the sale represents further consolidation [of yet another small, local provider] in an industry squeezed by increasingly tighter reimbursement from government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

    [Service sector - ]
    1/29 Consolidation fever strikes Net, auto firms -

    [Service sector - ]
    1/29 Anthem Inc. to buy Blue Cross of N.H. [for $120m] - For-profit insurer adds another N.E. nonprofit, by Ralph Jimenez, Bos Globe, E1.

    1/29 US air-bag maker to buy British firm - TRW's $6.6b for LucasVarity tops offer by Federal-Mogul, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, E2.
    [When top management forgets how to manage people and products, they start looking for takeover targets.]

    [Semi-Service sector - ]
    1/29 British publisher buys Boston Internet firm [for $43.2m], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, E5.

    [Service sector - ]
    1/28 [Beth Israel] Deaconess still feeling merger pain - Medical center morale, reputation suffer, by R. Saltus & A. Pham, Bos Globe, frontpage.
    The three-year-old merger between two Harvard [University] teaching hospitals had created a troubled hybrid, conceded Dr. Jas. Reinertsen, CEO of [the] parent company.... It was a stunning the maddenly difficult attempt to meld two strikingly different cultures.... The merger...spawned dissension and deflated morale generally, culminating in this week's announcement that Dr. Mitchell Fink plans to step down as chairman of surgery.... In addition to a spate of departures, the merger has contributed to a $71 million operating loss in 1998 instead of the savings it was eventually supposed to produce....
    [We maintain that CEOs who merge and acquire are generally the shortest-sighted, laziest, least productive, and least imaginative managers in existence - in short, incompetent and liable for management malpractice.]

    [Service sector - ]
    1/28 Money-losing Bankers Trust paid out $1.1b in bonuses, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, D2.
    ...after the company, now being acquired by Deutsche Bank AG, lost $6 million last year....
    [With this kind of perverse incentive, it's easy to see why they're losers.]

    1/28 Raytheon, GM dispute value of Hughes buyout, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, D7.

    1/27 Tenneco sheds containerboard unit, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, D2. autoparts and specialty-packaging company, agreed yesterday to sell a majority stake in its containerboard business to Madison Dearborn Partners for $2.2 billion. Tenneco will keep a 45% stake in the business, to be renamed Packaging Corp. if America. It will be the sixth-biggest US maker of the heavy brown paper used for layers of cardboard....

    [Service sector - ]
    1/25 GE Capital to buy assets from Japan Leasing - $6.6b deal is biggest acquisition ever involving Japanese company, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, A11.
    TOKYO - GE's finance subsidiary, the world's largest nonbank finance company, will buy Japan Leasing's industrial, commercial, and office-equipment leases for less than face value.... The purchase of the No. 3 Japanese leasing company is GE's fourth...venture in Japan since last year. By entering the Japanese market now, the world's second largest company in market value is taking advantage of the country's loss-ridden banking system and weak economy. "This is an entirely new business for us" in Japan, said a GE Capital spokesperson.
    "We're huge in leasing, so we know how to do it...."
    [Not in Japan you don't.]
    The move follows GE's plans to slow...its stock buybacks so it can spend as much as $40 billion on acquisitions in Asia....
    [Great, forget about investing in your markets via your own employees, the safest investment (= reinvestment) - forget about buying back your own stock at bubble prices, the less safe investment (= indirect and badly timed reinvestment), and instead, invest in total instability. Brilliant!]
    GE chairman Jack Welch last month said "the clear opportunity is in the financial services in Japan, where deregulation is occurring."
    [Yes, deregulation and destabilization. That regulation didn't originally get there by accident, Jack.]
    Japan Leasing collapsed last Sept. in Japan's biggest bankruptcy....
    [What's that old saw about "sending good money after bad"? The Globe nailed it on 1/24 (D2), "As the global turmoil has spread, each economic basketcase has popped up closer to America's doorstep" and here's our own Jack Welch joining the chumps in the hedge funds and bringing the world's biggest basketcase right into America's living room.]

    [Service sector - ]
    1/24 Making cybersense [or space sense], Bos Globe, D2.
    Two companies. A combined $181 million in losses last year. A news conference.... Giddy pronouncements of a megadeal that could change market dynamics. Welcome to the...Internet.
    [As the Globe headlined on 1/20 - ]
    At Home Corp. agrees to buy Excite in [$6.7b] stock deal - Union of high-speed provider, Web 'portal' aims to help users realize potential of Net, (Kerber and Bray, D1).
    [If two wrongs can make a right, maybe two losers can make a winner.]

    1/23 DirecTV to buy rival Primestar for $1.82b - Deal would give satellite TV firm 64% of market, by Josh Fineman, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, C1.
    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - ...the largest US satellite-TV broadcaster yesterday said it plans to buy [its] top competitor.... The transaction is subject to approval from...regulators.

    [Software (semi-service) sector -]
    1/22 Parametric to acquire British firm for $46m, Dow Jones via Bos Globe, C5.
    Parametric Technology Corp. of Waltham yesterday announced its intention to acquire British information technology company Division Group PLC for either cash or stock....

    1/20 British defense firm buys rival in $12.8b deal, by Edward Roussel, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D2.
    LONDON - British Aerospace PLC agreed to buy General Electric Co. PLC's Marconi defense unit for 7.76 billion stock and assumed debt, creating the world's third-largest defense company [ranking] only behind Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. The purchase will pressure French and German companies to merge to compete with BAe....
    [The race to doom via consolidation proceeds apace. You can't (without timesizing) consolidate companies without consolidating employment. You can't consolidate employment without consolidating spending power. You can't consolidate spending power without slashing consumer markets. You can't slash consumer markets without slashing all markets. And baby, that's a depression!]

    1/20 Avondale, Newport News Shipbuilding to merge, AP via Bos Globe, D2.
    ...A $470 million merger creating a company capable of designing, building, and maintaining the entire Navy fleet. The combined company will be known as Newport News Avondale Industries and will have almost 24,000 employees.
    [...until the pink slips fly anyway.]

    [Software (semi-service) sector -]
    1/20 Sovereign Hill [of Hadley, Mass.] bought by Dataware [of Cambridge] for $4m, Jerry Ackerman, Bos Globe, D4.

    [Service sector - ]
    1/16/99 Vodafone to acquire AirTouch - $56b deal announced after Bell Atlantic drops out of bidding, by Ron Rosenberg, Boston Globe, p. E1. 1/14 Lucent to acquire Ascend in $19.6 billion stock deal - Transaction continues pairings of voice, data equipment firms, by Ron Rosenberg, Bos Globe, C1.

    [Software (semi-service) sector -]
    1/12 Quiet software developer a sudden billionaire - Lucent buys Cambridge software firm [Kenan Systems for $1.45 billion in stock], by Ron Rosenberg, Boston Globe, frontpage.

    1/12 Tyco to pay $51.5m for home-alarm firm [Alarmguard Holdings], Bloomberg via Bos Globe, C9.

    [Service sector - ]
    1/12 Texas firm buys Hub architectural firm, by Richard Kindleberger, Bos Globe, C9.
    Sumner Schein Architects and Engineers Inc., a Cambridge retail design firm since 1921, said it has been acqured by Carter Burgess Inc., a national design firm based in Fort Worth....

    1/09/99 HOW TO MAKE MERGERS WORK, The Economist magazine, cover article-set,
    titled over illustration of two different-colored cloths safety-pinned and rough-stitched together.

  • Last year mergers and acquisitions hit record levels...leader, 15
  • the deals and struggles, 21-23
  • but no merger boom in Asia, 22...

    12/27/98 In '98, major mergers were dominant story - List includes Mobil-Exxon, Daimler-Chrysler, AT&T-TCI, Citicorp-Travelers, Shaws-Star, [Compaq-Digital, MCI-WorldCom, GTE-Bell Atlantic, & 3-way SBC-Ameritech-Pacific Telesis], by Jerry Ackerman, Bos Globe, G3.
    ...An eye-popping $4.98 trillion worth of deals were logged by Securities Data Co. by last week. That was triple the $1.6T record set in 1997.
    The number of deals, 11,002 as of last Wed. 12/23, may fall short of the 11,156 record of 1997. But their scale, topped by the $86.4B joining of Mobil and Exxon, is changing the national and global business landscape....
    Layoffs were in store [the toxic takeover-downsizing connection!] and antitrust issues [and corruption potential] abounded. But [short-term] profits drove the deals....
    [Never mind the fact that -]
    Financial markets worldwide were shaken to their roots as Russia's economy collapsed and Brazil's threatened to follow. Coming on top of Asia's financial problems, these setbacks sent the Dow down 20% between July 17 and Sept. 30. The plunge stopped only after 3 consecutive cuts in short-term interest rates by the Federal Reserve. With investor confidence restored, the market recovered - and then, ignoring political turmoil and war against Iraq, kept on climbing to close at 9217.99 Thursday 12/24.
    The impacts of these global problems reached far. Teradyne Corp., Eaton Corp. and PRI Automation Inc. were among dozens of Massachusetts semiconductor-industry suppliers that laid off workers.... BankBoston closed its offices in Japan, Philippines, Taiwan and India - but fared well in Brazil, where customers sought safety in US banks....

    11/30/98 For Oil Workers, Merger Is Just Another Word for More Layoffs, by Allen Myerson, NY Times, front page.
    BEAUMONT, Tex., Nov. 29 - They have been downsized, cut back and re-engineered. So when the 900 or so remaining blue-collar workers here at Mobil's largest domestic refinery, out of about 1,500 a decade ago, heard last week that their company was discussing a possible merger with Exxon, it was like a siren warning them that an already suspect valve might be about to blow.
    "I think it's a terrible thing," said Dick Mabry, a refinery operator.... "It's a revival of the Standard Oil Company. It's going to put 20 or 30 thousand people out of work. I think the Justice Dept. should step in and stop it."...

    11/28/98 Exxon and Mobil confirm reports - Firms' shares leap over merger talks, by N. Brooks and S. Silverstein, LA Times via Bos Globe, C1.
    LOS ANGELES - the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 oil companies confirmed yesterday that they are discussing a merger, sending their stock and the shares of other oil companies higher on hopes that the pair will make it to the altar followed by many others in the price-shocked oil industry.
    [There it is, writ large - the connection between low prices = deflation, and corporate mergers - which facilitate downsizing and make things worse - a classic death spiral.]
    ...matchup...would create the world's largest publicly traded oil company, surpassing Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and it would zoom past General Motors Corp. as the largest US firm. The potential deal would dwarf British Petroleum Co.'s $49 billion acquisition of Amoco Corp., now nearing completion. As with that merger, the combination of Exxon and Mobil would mark a family reunion of sorts for pieces of John D. Rockefeller's storied Standard Oil monopoly, which was broken apart almost 90 years ago.
    [How many times do we have to repeat the same mistake?]
    ...such a behemoth transaction certainly would face regulatory scrutiny in the United States and Europe....

    [Remember *Small Is Beautiful? Well now we give you...]
    11/28/98 Bigger is necessary - Shaw's new chief executive says acquiring Star Markets [for $490 million] essential to long-term survival, by Chris Reidy, Bos Globe, C1.

    [The takeover-downsizing link again - ]
    11/28/98 Viag to buy Algroup in $8.7b deal, forming '70s-style diversified firm, Bloomberg News, via Bos Globe, C2.
    ZURICH ...Germany's No. 3 utility agreed to buy Algroup in a stock swap...marking the biggest takeover of a Swiss firm by a foreign rival and creating a company with interests in gas, electricity, aluminum, chemicals, packaging and communications.... The new company...will be as big as European powerhouses such as engineering company Asea Brown Boveri Ltd.... It ranks in Europe's top five in most of its businesses...will be the world's No. 1 maker of packaging for the drug industry...and one of Europe's top 10 biggest electricity companies. Viag's SKW Trostberg is alrady the world's biggest chemicals maker for the construction industry. Algroup and Viag expect to save 570 million marks a year because of cost cuts, and plan to shed about 2,500 jobs or 2% of their combined work force of 127,000....

    11/28/98 Two liquor disitributors to merge into $300m firm, by Ronald Rosenberg, Bos Globe, C1.
    ...Copley-Fradin Inc. of Providence this week said it will merge with Premium Coastal Beverage Co. of Avon, another wholesale liquor distributor...terms not revealed...under a new corporate name, Horizon Beverage Group....

    Feb-Mar/98 Howard Ross Wants You - Dealmakers like [Philadelphia's] Ross are folding thousands of small businesses into corporate empires. Is this merely a fad, or is it your future?, by Patricia Gray, Your Company magazine, coverstory, p. 26.
    ...There are many reasons for the roll-up boom. For one, Wall Street loves them. About $8 billion of stock has been pumped into the deals since 1994.... Some critics see the consolidations as another stock-market-driven fad like the conglomerates of the '70s that were dismantled in the '80s....