Making a Money Machine

Merger mania is rampant. But the new Goliath, Citigroup, may show it's not all bad

One way or another, the unprecedented merger wave sweeping across our economy has touched your life. The local bank is long gone. You've been reunited with the same dreadful HMO you thought you ditched a few years back. Your mutual-fund statement has a new logo. Offputting. Irritating. Confusing. Or, if you've been merged out of a job, debilitating.

But before we hang all the dealmakers, consider the flip side. Last week financial-services giants Travelers Group and Citicorp agreed to the largest merger in history, a stock swap worth some $76 billion. It's a titanic marriage that will dwarf everything else in...

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