MERGERS: Starting a Cautious Revival

One of the most popular paths to corporate growth during the surging '60s was acquisition of other companies. The more firms an aggressive company gobbled up, the more investors it attracted and the higher the price of its stock soared. Ambitious company chiefs issued securities of inflated value to buy up wildly diverse businesses and paste them together into massive conglomerates. But many of these structures fell apart because of the collapse of stock prices in 1969 and the bouts of wild inflation and deep recession that marred the early 1970s. From...

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