In the bank acquisition business, nothing fails like success. Acquirers are the putative winners. They get the notice, the press kudos, even the plaudits of many analysts. But their shareholders do much less well.

In fact, fresh evidence compiled by Mitchell Madison Group indicates that, from an acquiring shareholder's perspective, the majority of 1990- 1995 bank mergers were at best a wash and at worst a keen disappointment, an apparent triumph of managerial adrenaline over managerial intelligence. But this need not be the case in the future.

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