The News: M&A Poised to Accelerate

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Here's the latest banking-recovery data point: One in three businesses globally says it's "likely" or "highly likely" to acquire other companies in the next 12 months, according to a new Ernst & Young report. And a full 25 percent expect to do so in the next six months.

That's great news for M&A bankers (although only if one assumes the market consensus estimate of next year's merger activity didn't already exceed those figures).

The principal driver still seems to be many companies' desire to dispose of non-core, underperforming or distressed assets. And financing purchases continues to be a minefield. Still, the gradually improving economic outlook means some such purchases will likely turn into home runs, the buyers gaining market share and growing revenue in in ways that were impossible two years ago. (On a less buoyant note, 70 percent of respondents expect the downturn to persist beyond the next 12 months, and more than half believe it will take at least three more years for financing conditions to recover to mid-2007 levels.)

Nearly half the 500 companies surveyed list the U.S. as the most attractive developed market destination. Predictably, India and China dominated emerging market destinations, at 30 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

Also no surprise: 46 percent of prospective buyers and sellers are prepared to consider alternative deal structures that depend less on debt.

One Third of Global Businesses Actively Seeking M&A Targets in Next 12 Months [Ernst & Young, via PRN]

Cook Named Director Of SEC's Division Of Trading And Markets [Investment News]

David Beker Rejoins BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research as Head of Latin America Economics and Fixed Income Strategy [Bank of America]

Standard & Poor's to Broaden Presence in China with New Greater China Headquarters in Shanghai [McGraw-Hill Cos.]

Natixis Global Associates Strengthens Presence in Retirement Marketplace [Natixis, via PRN]

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