Investment bankers don’t get paid to be pessimists. Throughout the current slump in takeovers, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisers have said a recovery was around the corner, awaiting a stronger U.S. economy, rising stock markets, or an end to the European debt crisis.

All three of those conditions have now been satisfied, yet deal-making has remained stagnant as CEOs continue to worry about the viability of the economic recovery. The final three months of 2013 saw announced takeovers slide by almost a third from a year earlier, even as the outlook improved in Europe and North America, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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