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Scott Jagow: The issue isn't so much the banks now, but the economy and the threat of global recession. Companies are likely to seek shelter in other companies. Here's John Dimsdale.

John Dimsdale: Banks are doing it. Airlines are doing it. And pretty soon auto companies might, too. There are plenty of downtrodden companies that are looking like good takeover targets.

Tom Duesterberg: At these kinds of prices, there are lots of opportunities out there.

Tom Duesterberg is the president of Manufacturers Alliance. His industry is in recession, he says, but it has one advantage: strong export earnings from a weak dollar.

Duesterberg: They're in a better position to do acquisitions. There's less competition from the financial buyers, the private equity players who depend so much on borrowed money, which has dried up for them.

Some consolidation can be expected in every down economy.

Edward Prescott's research on business cycles won him the Nobel prize in economics in 2004:

Edward Prescott: There's going to be some negotiations, some give and take. And sometimes when there's rougher times, you need fewer firms in an industry.

How many fewer firms depends on how rough the times get.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.