Swallowing Up One Another

A new megawave of mergers washes over corporate America

Few threats shake top executives more than takeover fights for their companies. Such battles often consume colossal amounts of time and cash and strip the losers of their jobs and power. New merger wars are now sweeping across U.S. industry, and the outlook is for more contests ahead. Says Jeffrey Berenson, managing director of mergers and acquisitions for Merrill Lynch: "The whole merger arena is on fire again. 1984 is starting out as another blockbuster year."

The experts who painstakingly track merger activity agree. A total...

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