Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

How to gum up an exchange merger: salt water

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It’s a puzzle M&A bankers and corporate executives have been trying to solve for years: how far from your home market can an acquisition take place and ultimately stumble over cultural differences? It’s a question that looms large as quintessentially Italian automaker Fiat prepares to swallow up Chrysler – inventor of the K-car and the minivan – and which reportedly haunts St Louis-based employees of Anheuser Busch in the aftermath of their company’s takeover by the penny pinching Belgians and Brazilians at InBev.

Gary Katz, CEO of Deutsche Boerse unit International Securities Exchange, insisted during his appearance at the Reuters Exchanges and Trading Summit that all has been sweetness and light since the Germans assumed control of the upstart American options exchange and that there has been “nearly zero turnover” since the takeover.

But Thomas Kloet, Chief Executive of Canadian exchange powerhouse TMX, was one of several executives at the summit who insisted that cross border mergers can often be a recipe for disaster and that the ideal mergers are “domestic roll-ups” like CME Group’s takeover of Nymex and the Chicago Board of Trade or indeed TSX Group’s takeover of the Montreal Exchange, which created TMX.

Implicitly criticizing some of the first-ever cross border deals in the sector like NYSE’s merger with Euronext, Kloet said: “there are significant regulatory differences that make cross border mergers pretty difficult to do, especially when they start passing over salt water, so to speak.”

AUDIO – For Nordson — “Get ‘em right, or get ‘em out”

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Throughout the current recession, many of the companies’ executives at this week’s Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit have found an opportunity to review, pare back and possibly add on to their existing business mixes.

Such is the case for Edward Campbell, chief executive of Nordson Corp, which has a uniquely diversified set of businesses under its umbrella and is looking at what makes sense for them going forward.

AUDIO – GE sees the problems … and the opportunities

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On the first day of this year’s Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit, one of the guests told us of the Chinese theory of the word “crisis” — the symbols for which are a combination of “problem” and “opportunity”.

On Tuesday, Vice Chairman John Rice told Reuters that both sides of the equation were in play for GE, but voiced confidence that the company would be able to hit its marks.

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