Plans to Make Mergers Easier

The White House seeks a sweeping overhaul of antitrust laws

Under the tolerant gaze of the Reagan Administration, giant U.S. companies have been merging at an unprecedented rate. Now the White House wants to make it still easier for firms to consolidate. Officials last week unveiled a sweeping plan to overhaul antitrust laws that have held sway since the early part of the 20th century. "The Reagan crew is obviously determined to leave its mark on business policy," said James Maher, managing director of mergers and acquisitions at the First Boston investment-banking firm. "These ideas, if enacted, will fuel more fires in merger activity."

The proposed changes would make mergers less...

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