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Merger shows industrial logic

THE merger [of] the American defense contractors Martin-Marietta and Lockheed illustrates a new wave of share-takings, alliances, and buyouts unfolding in certain sectors of the American economy. These billion-dollar operations are giving the big industrial groups of the United States a world competitiveness lost over the past 20 years, notably to the Japanese....

These operations have nothing to do with the spectacular takeovers of the 1980s. Today's logic is no longer financial, but industrial. Groups are seeking to respecialize in their core work and are aiming for more long-term profits. The rebound of the American economy over the past four years is helping.... The Clinton administration is taking part in these marriages and is in many cases provoking them. It's no longer the era of anti-trust policy, but of a more interventionist industrial policy.

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