Corporate deal-making ready to take off next year

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Companies looking to put cash to work could help boost the climate for deal-marking in 2014.

Despite bargain-basement interest rates, mergers and acquisitions activity has been under par for much of the time since the financial crisis exploded in 2008, with companies either hoarded cash or used it to buy back shares or issue dividends.

But the market has picked up momentum in the latter part of the year, providing encouragement that M&A could see a relatively strong 2014.

"All the fundamentals have been in place over the last two or three years to set up a strong deal market," said Bryan McLaughlin, a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers' deals practice. "Cash will be put to work as confidence increases."

The outlook, part of the firm's buoyant forecast for the year ahead, is predicated on economic growth that will cause companies to get deals done.