Big Doubts About Big Deals

Politicians and scholars debate the merits ofmultibillion-dollar mergers

Mobil plans to bid $8 billion for Conoco. Penn Central offers $1.4 billion for Colt Industries. Heileman Brewing Co. opens talks on a possible merger with Schlitz Brewing.

The frenzy of bid-a-billion merger making again rippled through American business last week. Company presidents nervously looked for corporate marriage partners, bankers arranged billion-dollar lines of credit, and investors wildly bid up stocks that looked like potential takeover targets. But, as the madding crowds continued to get in on the deals, more and more executives, academics and politicians...

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