This column was originally published on RealMoney on May 21 at 8:22 a.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for readers. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney, please click here.

Idle hands might be on what the devil preys, but M&A keeps the bulls at play. And with the wheeling and dealing continuing apace today, Wall Street is busily keeping the bears at bay.

Topping this morning's headlines and underpinning the market is

news that


(AT) - Get Report

will be bought out for $71.50 per share. Because the

Options Alerts Model Portfolio is long Alltel call options, it also turns me into a prime example of just how out of whack expectations have become about the payoff for playing the buyout lottery.

My initial reaction was fairly ecstatic, but not without an element of "it's about time I caught one of these deals." Then, I realized the price tag was a mere 10% premium to Friday's closing price.

Alltel has been a long-rumored takeover target, and its stock is up some 25% since it basically put itself up for sale in February. Therefore, it was pretty common knowledge that most of any takeover price was already priced into the stock. Nevertheless, I couldn't help feeling disappointed that it wasn't getting the 30%-50% pop that all other stocks garner in deals that seem to occur every other day.

The fact that the value of the calls will have doubled from their purchase price has somehow become a letdown. I must be a sign of the top.

Steven Smith writes regularly for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He was a seatholding member of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) from May 1989 to August 1995. During that six-year period, he traded multiple markets for his own personal account and acted as an executing broker for third-party accounts. He appreciates your feedback;

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