2004 is year of the deal as bids make comeback

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The Independent Online

Merger and acquisition activity posted its long-awaited recovery this year, according to a KPMG survey. The analysis recorded the first clear evidence of a pick-up in completed UK and global M&A activity since the end of 2000.

Merger and acquisition activity posted its long-awaited recovery this year, according to a KPMG survey. The analysis recorded the first clear evidence of a pick-up in completed UK and global M&A activity since the end of 2000.

Stephen Barrett, the international chairman of KPMG's corporate finance practice, said: "We are at a turning point. After the much-heralded return of the market at the start of 2004, we are finally in a position to call a recovery, albeit a modest rise by bid numbers. In analysing completed deal statistics we are looking at the most accurate snapshot of the current market."

Globally, the value of closed deals in 2004 is $1.536bn (£816m), up 47 per cent on the same period last year, according to the study by KPMG's corporate finance division, based on data supplied by Dealogic. The most active month was July, which had the highest monthly value of deals ($301bn) since the M&A peak in December 2000. This year 18,481 have been completed, a rise of 10 per cent on last year.

In Britain, 2,444 deals with a combined value of $214bn were completed, compared with $148bn in 2003, but deal numbers remained stable. The largest included Banco Santander's $17bn takeover of Abbey National and Royal Bank of Scotland's acquisition of Charter One for $10bn.

Asia had the biggest improvement in M&A activity from last year's figures, while the number of deals in Europe stayed flat.

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