Gauging Acquirers' Risks

M&A activity, derailed for much of the recession, is back on track. In the first nine months of 2010, the aggregate dollar volume of global acquisitions increased 21%, to $1.75 trillion, according to Thomson Reuters, with the third quarter alone seeing the most mergers and acquisitions in any three-month period since the third quarter of 2008.

In the United States alone, 5,760 deals worth $595 billion were announced in the first nine months of last year, an increase of 18.6 % from the same period the previous year. Both the volume and dollar values of deals are expected to hold up during the first quarter of 2011. Last April 57% of executives polled by Ernst & Young said their businesses were "likely" or "highly likely" to acquire other companies in the next 12 months.

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