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What do the AT&T-Bellsouth Merger, Bear Stearns, and United-Continental Have in Common?

Memphis has been at the center of several big business stories over the past decade in a way that probably escaped major attention locally.

In preparation for 2006’s merger of BellSouth and AT&T, the CEOs of both companies boarded their company jets and flew to Memphis. CEOs Edward Whitacre (AT&T) and Duane Ackerman (Bellsouth) worked out the terms of the multibillion-dollar deal on notepads and shook hands in a Memphis airport hanger, according to BusinessWeek.

In the midst of Bear Stearns’ collapse in 2007, the Wall Street Journal zeroed in on the crisis management style and other personal qualities of the firm’s chief executive officer Jimmy Cayne. A prominently placed story that ran on page A1 of the Wall Street Journal in November 2007 included one revelation that garnered widespread attention in the business press at the time – that Cayne, after playing bridge in 2004 at a Doubletree hotel in Memphis, later invited “a fellow player and a woman to smoke pot with him,” according to the WSJ.

Cayne told the paper no such incident occurred.

More recently, as a blog post below notes, Bloomberg reported that part of the United-Continental airlines merger was negotiated at the Radisson hotel next to Memphis International Airport.

Dansette

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