As merger activity picked up slightly in the first quarter, it was clear the corporate buyer with cash and stock was king, a trend that should continue for some time.
Of the $189.3 billion in first quarter deals, corporate buyers dominated and the private equity world was responsible for just $4.3 billion, according to S&P/Capital IQ.
After a sharp drop in deal activity as the economy choked in the fourth quarter, there's now a slight pickup in the urge to merge among companies looking to grow their businesses strategically. They are driven in part by relatively cheap stock prices and slow growth in their own businesses.
Deal activity was at just $115.6 billion in the fourth quarter, and the private equity community was responsible for just $5.7 billion. This was down from the third quarter's $266 billion, which included $9 billion of private equity activity. In fact, the last private equity deal valued at more than $1 billion was Blackstone's $1.19 billion deal for Allied Security Holding in July, 2008.
This is also a major change from the record $520.9 billion in U.S. deals in the second quarter of 2007, when PE was on top as one of the hottest businesses on Wall Street. In that quarter, private equity did a whopping $186.6 billion in deals, more than half the $334.3 billion done by corporate buyers.