Paris, April 10:
They may wed willingly like Lucent and Alcatel, or it might be a forced marriage, as in the hostile bid by Mittal Steel for Arcelor. But whatever the circumstances, mergers and acquisitions continue to be highly fashionable.
â€œThe wave of mergers has continued at full steam at the start of 2006,â€ according to data provider Thomson Financial. Its latest report shows that the number of mergers and acquisitions announced â€” but not necessarily completed â€” in the world in the first quarter of the year leapt by 44.9 per cent compared to the same period of 2005, reaching a value of more than $880 billion.
The most active sectors were energy and telecoms. In Europe alone, the progression was 114 per cent. The volume of deals, valued at $443 billion, reached its highest level since 2000, at a time when the hi-tech bubble was finally bursting. The three biggest operations announced â€” none of which has been completed as yet - make up more than a quarter of the European total.
They were German energy giant E.ONâ€™s 29.1-billion-euro hostile bid for Spanish gas group Gas Natural, Gaz de Franceâ€™s 44.7-billion-euro merger with French utilities group Suez, and Mittal Steelâ€™s 18.6-billion-euro hostile bid for Arcelor.
The biggest operation so far completed in Europe is the friendly 25.9-billion-euro bid by Spanish telecoms giant Telefonicaâ€™s for the British mobile phone company O2, according to Thomson Financial.
BEIJING: International companies vying for a piece of Chinaâ€™s growth miracle have hit unexpected trouble in the form of â€˜economic nationalismâ€™ and foreign dominance fears. A broad coalition of officials and businesspeople have voiced concern that massive sales of Chinaâ€™s assets could lead to foreign monopolies in key sectors. â€œIf China lets multinationalsâ€™ malicious mergers and acquisitions go ahead freely, China can only act as labour in the global supply chain,â€ said Li Deshui, Chinaâ€™s former chief statistician. â€” AFP