Ending Germany Inc.

For the better part of a half-century, Germany's major banks, insurance companies and industrial holdings have been linked by a comfortable but incestuous relationship. Known informally as Germany Inc., the country's top companies owned shares in each other's businesses, worked together for their common good and helped produce the country's postwar economic miracle. But in the age of globalization, that model is looking more and more out of date. With last week's acquisition of Dresdner Bank by Allianz, Europe's second- largest insurer, the cosy relationship is starting to unwind. Said Dresdner chairman Bernd Fahrholz: "Our union is above all a very...

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