WESTERN EUROPE: One Way to Beat the Yanks

Seeking to create corporate combines with enough muscle to compete against U.S. giants, Europe's businessmen are rapidly pushing multinational alliances. The trouble is that there is still no standard body of European corporate law, and melding companies across borders can create enough legal and tax problems to enrich a generation of lawyers. To get around that, managements are busy figuring out clever new combinations that stop short of mergers.

This week Europe's biggest and most promising combination since World War II will take place. Britain's Dunlop Co. Ltd. and the Italian-based Pirelli...