The Day The Earth Stood Still

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Recipe for slow news day. Step one: take notice that nothing is happening. Step two: write that nothing is happening. Step three: post an item on a blog about a story about nothing happening.

Investment bankers and corporate lawyers seemed to take a break on Wednesday — and they certainly earned it. About $3.1 trillion worth of transactions have been announced this year, including about $50 billion on Monday alone. That was when Blackstone offered $20 billion (excluding debt) for Equity Office Properties and Freeport-McMoRan agreed to pay $25 billion for Phelps-Dodge.
On Wednesday, both BusinessWeek and Fortune magazine took a look at why there is such a deal-making frenzy.
They covered some familiar territory (bulging private equity funds in search of takeover targets, easy access to the debt markets), but BusinessWeek hinted at a tantalizing, if a bit far-fetched, political angle. It cited the incoming Democratic congress as one big reason for the year-end spate of deals. In the new year, “deals may see a greater degree of scrutiny in Washington,” it concludes.

For M&A, a Much-Deserved Holiday [New York Times]

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