Morning Roundup: Merger Mania Monday!

  • Southwest Airlines has inked a deal to buy AirTran. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said that both companies employ “dedicated people with kindred Warrior Spirits,” which in our opinion is just kind of a weird thing to say when announcing a merger. [Press Release]
  • Other deals: European automakers Saab and BMW should be announcing a technology-cooperation agreement. Unilever (Vaseline, Dove Soap) agreed to buy Alberto Culver (TRESemme, VO5). Wal-Mart offered to take over South African retailer Massmart, a company we have to admire for its honest branding. Oh yeah, and Hyundai (“Like Sunday”) wants to buy a struggling construction company.
  • Citigroup may pay former UBS energy banker Stephen Trauber $30 million over three years as he joins up with Citi, a deal that would make him one of the highest-paid employees at his new home. President Obama’s “pay czar,” Kenneth Feinberg, is no longer overseeing Citigroup’s pay practices although the U.S. government continues to own roughly 18 percent of the bank. [WSJ]
  • Back in 2006, ratings agencies ignored evidence suggesting many of the mortgages being packaged into tradable securities were high-risk stink bombs. [NYT]
  • Nestle, whose food offerings includ Butterfinger candy bars, DiGiorno pizza, Hot Pockets microwaveable heart bombs and Pixy Stix (sugar in a tube), plans to develop products that will treat diabetes, obesity, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. [Bloomberg]