Monday, July 19, 1999 Published at 00:31 GMT 01:31 UK
Business: The Economy
UK leads the merger frenzy
The Vodafone/Airtouch merger, boosting the M&A balance sheet
This year's wave of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) looks set to top the merger frenzy of 1998, and UK firms are dominating the field.
Deals such as Vodafone's bid for Airtouch did a lot to boost the balance sheet, and telecommunications was indeed the most active sector for mergers on a global scale.
The second quarter of the year was the most active, with link-ups worth $285bn, and UK firms acting as buyers in 48% of deals.
In their survey report, the KPMG researchers said that "1999 looks set to beat easily" the year before, when merger deals totalled a record $544bn.
European buyers on top
Boosted by UK activity, European firms were behind two thirds of all merger deals worldwide, buying companies worth $189bn between April and June.
British firms accounted for $139bn of that total.
US firms were well behind, doing deals worth $38bn, while Spanish firms went on a $19bn shopping spree.
Stephen Barret, head of M&A at KPMG Corporate Finance said: "UK firms are clearly increasingly confident about their ability to handle market-transforming global acquisitions and are looking to make a real impact in overseas markets."
The United States appears to be a shopper's paradise, attracting 51%, or about $145bn, of all international investment.
Once again UK firms are in the forefront, buying companies worth $80bn during the second quarter alone.
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