Mergers: End of the September Song

In a year of mammoth mergers, one of the main events came last September when Rochester's Xerox Corp. and Manhattan-based C.I.T. Financial Corp. announced plans for a union. The deal would have involved a swap of Xerox stock then worth $1.5 billion and created a hefty new conglomerate with assets of $4.5 billion. The agreement was based only on a handshake, but Xerox President C. Peter McColough cheerfully predicted that the merger would provide his company with "a much broader base than we now enjoy, enabling us to accelerate our plans in several fields."

Last week the merger prospects vanished...