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No shopping at Wal-Mart for this gang…

When Federated Department Stores (FD) announced its $11 billion deal to acquire May Department Stores (MAY) last month, it noted that merger-related costs would run around $1 billion and said the deal would help its mid-priced department stores compete more effectively with the likes of Wal-Mart (WMT). Today, in a Federated filing, we learned that a nice chunk of that billion will be in the form of severance payments to 12 of May’s top executives, who as a group, stand to collect $44.5 million in cash and more in options. At the top of the list is recently promoted Chairman and CEO John Dunham, who is poised to collect $9.32 million in cash and get a two-year consulting agreement for $375K a year. Next in line is executive vice president Dean Wolfe, who is poised to collect $6.12 million and get a post-merger consulting agreeement that will pay him $450K a year for the next two years. Even the lowest person on May’s executive totem pole — Jay Levitt, president of May Merchandising Co. — stands to collect nearly $5 million in cash. Of course, it’s not clear from the filing if any of these executives are definitely leaving. But given the payouts, I’m betting on early retirement for most, if not all. After all, for someone like Levitt, who’s only 47, that kind of money sure has to beat the daily treadmill.