M&A cycle no new ideas phase

Rob Cox, Richard Beales
Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

It looks as if the M&A boom is reaching a "running out of ideas" phase. As the easy pickings in mergers and acquisitions have been harvested, boards seem to be contemplating deals that look like variations on ones that have been tried before but failed for regulatory or other reasons.

Take a look at merger discussions between the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse. Just four years ago the European Commission vetoed a proposed $9 billion merger between Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext. At the time, the EU's competition supremo said the combined entity would create a "near monopoly" in certain derivative products that would hamper competition.