BY ERIK CAGLE It has been said by many a merger and acquisition prognosticator that modern-day deals need to do more than bring aboard added sales dollars. Today's deals need a reason to exist. Long before the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent retaliatory strikes, the economy had been in a sustained, downward spiral. The Federal Reserve's slicing of interest rates has registered barely a blip on the radar screen. It doesn't take a newspaper or even an industry magazine to realize that there is a recessional fear and a disturbing degree of uncertainty gripping the nation. Not surprisingly, any merger or acquisition

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