Not only were there a lot of deals, there wasn't the usual Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) buying spree to dominate the category. We charted about a dozen strong possibilities before realizing we had to winnow it down.
Later in the week, we'll list the actual reasons for picking the actual finalists. But I thought it would be more fun to look at the biggest also-rans first. Here's who missed the cut.
AT&T/T-Mobile -- The deal might still get done, and it's taken AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) a lot of handshakes and smiles (i.e., the making of deals) to get this far. But with the government suing to block the merger, AT&T is looking like a basketball player who just got slam-dunked upon. The game isn't over, but right now isn't the time to hand anybody an award.
But a six-company entry looked awkward. Cutting it down to two or three pack leaders didn't feel right. And how much dealing was involved? We don't have clarity on how conniving the companies had to be (or not) to get it assembled. It might have been: "Dudes, let's, like, all bid." "Dude. Whatever." In the end, we weren't comfortable highlighting this one.