Deere's (DE) $5.2 billion deal for Germany's Wirtgen may not be a blockbuster, but it's the biggest deal made by the U.S. farm and construction equipment manufacturer in almost two decades, according to The Deal's (a sister publication of TheStreet) database, and it sparked some interesting observations at our morning edit meeting and immediately after.
London Bureau Chief Martin Baccardax and TheStreet's Greg Morcroft batted back and forth the observation that U.S. companies might be wary of buying their German counterparts because strong labor protections there make it difficult to realize cost savings from layoffs. (And data on German FDI (foreign direct investment) shows that the U.S. is indeed by no means the largest foreign direct investor in Europe's economic kraftwerk.) But Senior Writer David Marcus later noted to yours truly that when he was in Austria last summer, Deere tractors were at work in every farm field he saw.
Of course, this deal is about construction equipment, not farm machinery. But there's synergy to be had in terms of production and distribution, and maybe that's where all the upside is for Deere. Then again, Marcus was on one of his periodic wine tours, so for all we know those were Deutz tractors he was looking at.
Career news: On Memorial Day, after 38 years with Wells Fargo (WFC) /Wachovia, David Carroll told the bank he would retire as head of wealth and investment management. Meanwhile, TheStreet's relationship mapping service BoardEx finds that Kebing Zhu will soon join China Pacific Insurance and David Pottruck has already joined GSV Capital.