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New Mergers and Acquisitions Driven by Upcoming Federal Action
October, 29th 2014

With corporate mergers and acquisition in the doldrums of the post “great financial recession” aftermath, the increasing possibility of U.S. Government action against the “tax inversion” dodge seems to have quickened a new wave of mergers and acquisitions.

Worldwide, $1.6 trillion in mergers and acquisition have been reported so far this year, through the end of September, according to data publicized by Thomson/Reuters new syndicate. This is the most since the $3.2 trillion seven years ago, just before the mid-2008 financial crash brought a decade of frantic mergers and acquisitions to a practical halt. Significant among these new M&A outbursts is that these deals are bigger and more comprehensive than any seen since 2007.

Among the various industrial sectors, healthcare seems to have taken a front row seat, generating a record $370.9 billion in deals or takeovers, waiting to be closed.

U.S. companies, hoping to get in under the wire of “tax-inversion” punitive government action, are viewing new headquarters relocation areas, especially in such low corporate tax centers as Ireland and the Netherlands. Switzerland has lost its popularity, primarily due to the controversial secrecy malefactors, which had been thoroughly investigated due to alleged cooperation with the Nazis during World War II.

While no final rules, clipping the wings of “tax inversion” have yet been issued by the U.S. Treasury, the attendant negative publicity, together with its politicization by Congress, will likely make inhibitive action enforceable by the end of the year.

In viewing major recipients of some of the larger M&A global deals, China, France, and South Korea appear to be in the forefront, while Germany, Japan, and especially Russia, hit by increasing sanctions due to the Ukrainian confrontation, are lagging.

Media companies seem to be the latest capturing M&A headlines. Comcast’s proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and AT&T’s $485 billion for DirecTV are two of the largest now in the works.

And with the U.S. stock markets reaching new highs, winners such as Facebook are now using their attractive values for “paper transactions.” A pending estimated $19 billion acquisition of “WhatsApp” is now in the works. It’s primarily based on the “red-hot” Facebook stock.

In the energy sector, pipeline conglomerates owned by Kinder-Morgan are getting a jump on the badly-needed pipeline infrastructure by paying $44 billion to consolidate several of its whole or partially-owned branches. This will get a jump on President Obama’s long-awaited infrastructure update, urgently needed by relocations to accommodate the incremental “shale fracking” expansion, which is out of sync with current pipelines.

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