Is Standard Oil Getting Back Together?

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Terrified by ever-falling oil prices, the two descendants of the busted trust Standard Oil -- Exxon and Mobil – are discussing a merger. That would make Exxon, already the world’s largest oil company, the third largest company in the world with a market capitalization of $240 billion and twice the oil sales of its nearest competitor in the industry, newly merged British Petroleum and Amoco.

Unfortunately, all that oil is only going for about $11 a barrel these days. But by merging, Exxon can save $7 billion a year and give its stockholders something for their continued patience. No word yet on whether the Justice Department is concerned. All eyes are on flirtatious-but-fickle Mobil: Its stock rose on the news, but the company has already returned a fistful of engagement rings in the ‘90s. After 87 years without so much as a postcard, Exxon will need a lot more than flowers to seal this reunion.