Hands-off policy for mergers: US seeks to put it on the books

A permissive view of antitrust under President Reagan has generated a merger wave few would have imagined a decade ago. General Electric's takeover of RCA, Ted Turner's fight for CBS, and GAF's attack on Union Carbide are just a few of the results.

The mergers have led to a healthy restructuring of American businesses, admirers say, making industries more efficient and more responsive to stockholders. Critics, however, charge they have pushed corporate debt to dangerous levels, wasted resources, and allowed business oligopolies to flourish.

Now the argument is moving to Capitol Hill.

Early next month, the White House will try to codify the Justice Department's hands-off approach to antitrust so that it lasts beyond the Reagan years.

The White House proposal would make it easier for companies in the same industry to merge and for directors to{et

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