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Business Combination, Merger, Buyout…You Decide?

February 27, 2011
The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, Ne...

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Speaking of the “Great Recession” and guilty parties, here is an article from last week’s WSJ:

“Loss of the Big Board to Germans Is a Crime, but Who’s Guilty?” by Wall Street Journal’s David Weidner asks key players the tough questions regarding the “merger” of Deutsche Börse and the New York Stock Exchange.  Dick Grasso, John Thain and Duncan Niederauer, three NYSE chief executives “take the stand” to determine who’s “responsible” for America’s loss of the “Big Board.” 

An interesting take on a serious situation which does not pinpoint a guilty party, but it does highlight speculation surrounding each CEO’s actions and possible contributions towards the Deutsche Börse acquisition of the NYSE.  As easy as it would be to place blame one individual, it is more than apparent that numerous items led America to this point.  The article ended rather abruptly and left me with one question – Why is this acquisition referred to as a “merger?”  And why is it continually compared to the merger of the NYSE and Euronext in 2007?  This is a buyout and nothing less.  There is big difference between “merger” and an international company owning a majority stake in America’s historical financial beacon.  The word “merger” softens the blow and, in my opinion, keeps this story “on the down low.”  For those fervently following it, this might sound completely off, but I asked a number of news-informed friends their opinion and was surprised that this was the first they’d heard about it.

So, as an ethical PR or communication professional, what is your thought on how this “business combination” is being publicized?  This is not a question about whether this is the right business decision for America, but if this is the right (ethical) communication strategy.  And, how would you suggest the NYSE communicate this raw and emotional moment to the American public? 

Additionally, this is a recent article by Nancy Mclernon that supports the “merger.”  She backs her claim by using examples of previous successful mergers between well-known American brands and international companies.

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