M&A Likely to Move at Substantial Pace

There’s no disputing the numbers. M&A activityhas taken a decided and somewhat unexpected turn upwardover the last two weeks, leading many to venture that a long awaited boom in corporate mating is at hand.

Huge cross border hostiles—BHP Billiton for Potash—and strategic over the top bids—Hewlett Packard's bidding above Dell’s deal to acquire 3Par—should infuse some confidence in a M&A market that had been nothing short of dull for most of 2010, but we are still a long way from a boom.

Mark Shafir, who runs global mergers and acquisitions at Citi, sounded a cautionary note today on The Strategy Session when he said that confidence among CEOs is still quite fragile and a key gating factor to a torrent of deals.

While bankers I speak with continue to be busy, most sound a similar refrain. Activity is picking up and seems likely to move at a more substantial pace into the fall, but few are expecting to set any records.

That being said, there are a few long-running deals that should already keep us busy after Labor Day. The battled between Airgas and Air Products , for example, will come to a head very soon—Airgas' annual meeting is September 15.

And those waiting for Novartis to raise its offer for Alcon may not be waiting much longer as Novartis appears near closing its purchase of Alcon shares from Nestle.


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