The last few months have seen a spate of small business getting gobbled up by larger companies at bargain basement prices. Just last month, BusinessWeek got sold to Bloomingdale for a mere $5 million. California’s oldest bookstore, Vroman’s both an independent local bookstore bought Book Soup.

In both instances, getting sold can spell the difference between death and survival for the acquired in today’s economic recession.
Market analysts are divided with some rejoicing that this is the best time for various small players in many industries to consolidate. But there are many who decry the bargain values of businesses that have thrived successfully for years and after all the investments their owners have put into the business only to get so little in the end.

Is this a sad trend or something fortuitous that herald better times ahead with fewer competing companies?