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PotashCorp mill general superintendent Trevor Berg holds a handful of chicklet potash at a potash holding centre at the Cory mine facilities near Saskatoon, August 19, 2010.
PotashCorp mill general superintendent Trevor Berg holds a handful of chicklet potash at a potash holding centre at the Cory mine facilities near Saskatoon, August 19, 2010.
(David Stobbe/Reuters)

The irresistible lure of mega-deals

Blessed with hot markets and easy access to cash or credit lines, chief executive officers are hunting for major deals again, ready to pull the trigger on acquisitions worth tens of billions of dollars.

In just two weeks we’ve seen a $40-billion (U.S.) offer from AT&T Inc. for DirecTV LLC, as well as a $48-billion bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals for Allergan Inc. What’s next: another run at Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.? If so, let’s hope BHP Billiton Ltd. really thinks it through. Because a CEO’s true value doesn’t stem from striking deals that look sexy. It’s rooted in realizing when to say “no.”