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April 1, 1998

Monica Lewinsky? No, Merger Mania!

By Jeffrey L. Winograd

Reeling from the relentless allegations about President Clinton's extracurricular activities, news of the merger talks between Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange stirred nonchalant reactions in Washington.

Yes, this was a big yawn of a yarn.

Even so, the merger has an important place in the heart of Washington. A proposal in principal to merge both exchanges must be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. And it does raise anti-trust concerns.

"I would expect the Senate to take a close look at it if the transaction goes forward," a Senate source said, lamely. "But we won't jump way out ahead of it. It's too soon to say whether hearings would begin before or after the SEC begins its review."

A Senate staffer said, "things will have to progress a little further to warrant any official action up here."

One mildy-excited House staffer said the paper that broke the Watergate scandal looked a little ridiculous. "The Washington Post got scooped by The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal on the Nasdaq and AMEX merger."

Now that's a story.