What’s behind corporate America’s merger mania?

Tracey Samuelson Oct 13, 2015
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What’s behind corporate America’s merger mania?

Tracey Samuelson Oct 13, 2015
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On Monday, Dell finalized its $67 billion takeover of the data-storage company EMC. On Tuesday, Anheuser-Busch InBev confirmed its $104 billion offer for SABMiller.

Two megadeals in two days, but they’re also part of a larger boom in mergers and acquisitions. 

So far this year, the value of worldwide M&As totals $3.5 trillion, according to Thomson Reuters. That’s a 36 percent increase compared to a year ago and strongest year-to-date tally since since records of this data began in 1980.

 

Matthew Toole, director of Thomson Reuters’s Deals Intelligence, said part of the activity is the result of pent-up demand coming out of the financial crisis. Companies now feel confident enough to spend money and take risks.

Plus, revenue growth has been sluggish. “Companies, sometimes, look to so-called acquire growth by buying other companies,” said Richard Peterson, with S&P Capital IQ. “If you can’t grow organically on your own, you look to by growth elsewhere.”

For example, mergers and acquisitions can help companies get into new markets. Additionally, companies may feel pressure to pursue deals if their competitors are.

“Essentially, we’re getting bigger and bigger companies that need global proportions to survive and prosper,” said Steven Davidoff Solomon, a professor at UC Berkeley School of Law. “In a number of markets, you’re going from four players to three, possibly three players to two. And companies are trying to get dominant positions in the market before they themselves are acquired.”

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