Deals wrap: Blockbuster year for M&A?

March 25, 2011

A man and child look out over destroyed homes after a tsunami and earthquake in Sendai, northeastern Japan March 12, 2011. REUTERS/KyodoDespite upheaval in the Middle East and Japan, worldwide M&A have risen 58 percent to $717 billion so far this year, according to preliminary data from Thomson Reuters, marking the best start to a year since 2007 and building on last year’s tentative recovery. Analysts expect to see continued strong activity in mining and energy, but some warned it’s still too early to see the full implications of the recent crises.

Deal-making in Asia got off to a strong start in 2011, with cashed-up companies tapping investment opportunities in sectors from energy to industrials, and bankers say the transaction pipeline for the rest of the year looks healthy.

Executives at boutique investment banks see an increasing number of clients wanting their advice after a Delaware ruling last month accused large investment bank Barclays Capital of conflicts of interest.

Wall Street’s most powerful bank, Goldman Sachs Group, is making its worst showing in U.S. deal advisory rankings in more than two decades, sliding to 10th place in the first quarter of this year. The drop is mainly because the firm did not advise on two mega deals: AT&T’s $39 billion deal for T-Mobile USA and the $59 billion restructuring of insurer American International Group.

Signs of firms testing investor demand for new listings only a week after volatility derailed two of Europe’s largest offerings so far this year will embolden Glencore as the commodities giant presses ahead with its own mega-float, intended for early next month.

Even with Barnes & Noble selling for 60 cents on the dollar, the cheapest retailer in the U.S. isn’t cheap enough to entice private equity buyers looking for cash, writes Bloomberg’s Tara Lachapelle and Matt Townsend. The chain is the only U.S. retailer with a value of more than $500 million trading at a discount to its net assets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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