Research shows that most mergers disappoint. But rampant merger mania displays with brutal clarity just how far the financial world has decoupled from boring old reality. The short-term rise in stock-market valuations has become the only indicator of worth. It's all to do with investment stories rather than business strategies.
Where will it all end? Is merger madness a chronic illness or just a funny turn? Are bosses simply the puppets of avaricious investors? And is there really no alternative to companies piling up into ever more gigantic structures?
Mergers are nothing new, but this latest wave is different. The deals are bigger. They are more spectacular. And they are far, far more crazy.