In a surprise move, superstar pop idols Madonna and Britney Spears have signed a deal to merge their respective entourages. The resulting conglomeration of personnel, registered under the trade name "Ciccone-Spears Megaposse", is now the largest non-manufacturing peacetime enterprise in the history of mankind.
Consisting of literally tens of thousands of friends, family members, band members, backup vocalists, dancers, choreographers, stage managers, roadies, lighting technicians, wardrobe mistresses, hairdressers, makeup artists, manicurists, vocal coaches, personal trainers, personal assistants, personal assistants' assistants, secretaries, lawyers, accountants, drivers, bodyguards, nurses, masseurs, babysitters, astrologers, aromatherapists, housekeepers, groundskeepers, cat feeders, dog walkers, bird watchers, plant waterers, snake handlers, dieticians, cooks, scullery maids, food tasters, dog food tasters, candle snuffers, clock winders, litter bearers, whipping boys, footmen, wing-men, yes-men, no-men, no-way-men, no-way-Fay-Raye-men, don't-ask-me-man-men, gofers, gomers, goners, camp-followers, hangers-on, also-rans and people whose sole accomplishment in life is having once gotten themselves thanked by first name only in lower-case six-point type in the liner notes of a CD, the CSMp now employs more people than MacDonald's, AOL Time-Warner and the United States Army combined.
In addition, the entire group, as befits an "entourage", is contractually obligated to go wherever its two bosses go, for any purpose whatsoever. Thus, a simple shopping spree or weekend trip to the country takes more preparation and logistical planning than putting the QEII into drydock. A study by Fortune Magazine revealed that Miss Spears' recent trip to Anaheim to attend a friend's wedding generated more gross turnover and man-hours of work than the Normandy Invasion, the building of the Great Wall of China or the Second Crusade.
In an even more surprising development, it has been revealed that the original negotiations were in fact for a four-way merger which would also have included the entourages of both Michael Jackson and the Artist Formerly Known as AFKAP, but the deal was squelched by the Justice Department. Deputy attorney general William O'Rights, who made the final decision, has released the following statement outlining the reasons for his ruling:
"Number one, it would violate the nation's anti-trust laws by putting 98% of the known sycophants on the payroll of a single employer. Number two, any time any of the four chairpersons of the proposed corporation went anywhere besides the bathroom, the resulting mass migratory movement would throw the Earth out of orbit. And number three, I just love the word 'squelch'."