It makes sense as a terrific consolidation play, and it is something that is happening irrespective of Washington.
The second intrusion of the real world into the surreal Washington world? Gardner Denver is in talks to be acquired by SPX Corporation (SPW).
You may not know Gardner Denver, but it is integral to the oil and gas food chain because it makes air compressors. Oil and gas drilling is very much in bull market mode because of the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, and SPX is a classic industrial good manufacturer that needs to have more exposure to growth.
SPX could end up stealing Gardner Denver, which has been hit hard by the slowdown in natural gas drilling, for $4 billion, barely unchanged for the year. Still, it's a huge win if you bought it when Gardner Denver announced a shortfall earlier this fall and fell to $55. An impatient activist, ValueAct, obviously not focused on the charade in Washington, is getting the job done.Finally, there is Alterra, a very big reinsurance company that just caught a bid from Markel (MKL), a well-respected insurer that's always been undervalued. Markel is picking up Alterra for $3.1 billion, a nice chunk of change, yet it seems as if the market didn't even notice. And that's really the point. Three big deals, three that happened without worries of fiscal cliffs and off-again/off-again talks. Real money changing hands. Real wins to be had. If anybody cares to have them.