Still urging to merge

I am trying to ignore the latest Reuters report that government approval of Boeing and Lockheed's ULA deal is expected "within the next few weeks" since we've heard that before, (haven't we?) and not just after the Pentagon's conditional approval last month.

So far, what I can confirm is that neither of these two ever-patient Pentagon launch operators elected to invoke the termination clause in their joint venture agreement which in fact provided that either company could kill the deal if it did not win regulatory approval by March 31, 2006.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to think of a big M&A type deal, in any industry, in recent memory that waited this long for the government's go-ahead. (Sprint and Nextel? Verizon and MCI? Hewlett-Packard and Compaq? NBC and Universal? J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank One? Kmart and Sears? Bank of America and FleetBoston? Cingular and AT&T Wireless?) Never mind.

(We can all think of some folks who don't mind in the slightest waiting oh, indefinitely, for the regulators' nod on this one.)

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UPDATE: In related news, the Wall Street Journal reports
Boeing has reached a "preliminary agreement" with federal prosecutors in connection with two criminal investigations involving allegations Boeing improperly acquired proprietary Lockheed documents and illegally recruited an Air Force acquisition official, "but the aircraft company is resisting federal calls for about $750 million in fines and penalties as part of a settlement." According to the report, Boeing "has signaled that it may be willing to pay about $500 million to simultaneously settle related civil claims."

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TIDBIT: I notice that in its
"foolish forecast" for Boeing today -- in anticipation of the company's Q1 2006 earnings tomorrow morning -- Motley Fool mentions neither ULA nor the criminal stuff. (Not that SLP picks stock.)

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