What looked like a terrific combination of the second- and third-largest waste haulers, Allied Waste (NYSE:AW) and Republic Services (NYSE:RSG), may just have been trashed by Waste Management (NYSE:WMI), the industry's biggest trash titan.

Let's review the bidding here: About a month ago, Republic agreed to acquire -- I was tempted to say "haul off" -- Allied via a stock deal that initially was worth around $6.1 billion. It had since faded to about $5.4 billion because of Republic's sagging share price. But with Republic effectively put into play by its offer, Waste was presented with "an opportunity we felt we could not ignore." It therefore led off this week with its own $6.2 billion, $34-a-share cash offer for Republic. That's about 22% above Friday's close.

Waste Management CEO David Steiner expects that adding Republic would generate about $150 million in cost savings, starting a year out from closing, which is expected to happen in early 2009. Waste Management also announced preliminary second-quarter results of $3.5 million on the revenue line and about $0.64 million in per-share net earnings. Those numbers would be about flat with the second quarter of 2007.

The company's attempt at interrupting its rivals' planned marriage seems supremely sensible. It's also noteworthy that the waste industry has held up reasonably well amid our nation's economic pullback. If you think about it, it might be time to trash your portfolio -- if only by adding a few shares of Waste Management.

Waste Management has been given five-star status by Motley Fool's CAPS players, with 96% of the total players betting that the company will outperform the market. Why not add your opinion to this haul?

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Waste Management has been selected by the Motley Fool Inside Value team, while Republic Services is an Income Investor recommendation. Find out more about these and other ideas with a free 30-day trial subscription to any of our newsletters.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own positions in any of the companies mentioned. He does welcome your questions or comments. The Fool's disclosure policy will never be hauled away.