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Forum- December 7/dt1st/mark2nd Last week, Exxon Corp. and Mobil Corp. announced plans to merge, a move that, if approved, would create the world’s largest corporation. But the oil industry isn’t the only business that is consolidating; record-breaking mergers in banking, telecommunications and other fields have been announced in the past year. So the Business Journal asks: With all this consolidation going on, are you concerned that too much power is being held by a handful of multinational corporations? Robert W. Blackman[picnewsmakers11-23] Senior Vice President/Retail Banking Administrator California National Bank Yes. I’ve especially seen this in the banking industry. I think it could be a detriment to consumers. Consumers are given fewer choices and the potential for less of a market-driven economy. Michael Franklin Ross President Wou & Partners Inc. No, I’m not concerned. I think the mergers should produce more efficiencies. I don’t know a lot about the petroleum business, but if companies can be more efficient and eliminate redundancy, it will make American business more competitive in the marketplace. The one thing I do have some concerns about is the service business; personal service is very important, and with the large mega-mergers in architecture and engineering, it’s possible that personal service may be lost. I believe that clients really want to know who they are going to be working with. Lourdes Rocha[picturelanewsmakers11-23] Senior Staffing Manager Accountemps Yes, because it makes me feel that as a consumer I will have less control. These large companies will be able to monopolize things and control pricing, therefore causing prices to increase across the board. I am also concerned that this atmosphere of consolidation is not just affecting the oil industry. I don’t like how it is affecting the banking industry either. David W. Conley Insurance Marketing & Management Services Yes I am. I feel that it’s going to create a monopoly in too many industries and I believe the government should be stepping in to ensure that doesn’t happen. Otherwise, the American people will be put at a disadvantage when it comes to competitive pricing. When purchasing consumer goods, they will be put at the mercy of the pricing set by the monopolies. Brian Mitchell Principal Melendrez Babalas Associates No, I’m not personally concerned. I think that it eliminates overhead and waste and could well reduce consumer costs in the long run. Timothy M. Rommel Vice President Cannon Mergers and acquisitions are a normal part of a healthy business environment. Organizations have an infinite supply of information available to them, and this allows them to make decisions and take actions much quicker than historically has been the case. Is this process threatening? I would say no. As mergers and acquisitions occur, opportunities are created, whether they are within the affected industry or tangentially related industries. With all of the changes that have occurred over the last 10 years, the opportunities that have been created have far outweighed the limits.

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