When Little Companies Bulk Up

This is the era of the megazillion-dollar deal, but many small, dynamic firms see good reasons for getting together

The merger deal had been under discussion for two months. Finally, all the intricacies had been worked out. The last step in sealing the agreement turned out to be...a moonlight disco-dancing cruise?

If the word merger conjures up only thoughts of deals to join corporate giants like Exxon and Mobil, conjure again. What headline writers call "merger madness" is also breaking out among relatively pint-size companies, which seal new relationships in the cafeteria and celebrate with interpersonal mingling that can involve the whole staff. These not-so-big deals sometimes seem to occur in a business world altogether different from the one inhabited...

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