Reuters: M&A has busiest January in 11 years

Reuters: M&A has busiest January in 11 years

(Excerpts from a Reuters Article this morning) – Dealmaking is back on the agenda as CEOs step up the hunt for ways to put a multitrillion-dollar cash pile to work, triggering the busiest January for M&A in 11 years.

There is still plenty to worry about at this year’s meeting of the global elite in Davos, from fiscal deficits in the developed world to inflationary risks in emerging markets to new political risks like Egypt.

But with economic recovery taking root in the United States and Germany, while China and India continue to barrel along, company bosses and dealmakers are no longer willing to sit pat.

Overall, multinational companies in developed countries are holding a record $4-5 trillion in cash, according to a report last week by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

That money was built up as a buffer against a potential double-dip recession, or other systemic shocks, and it is beginning to look like a wasted opportunity.

The mood of confidence — as measured by surveys and conversations with business leaders — is palpably better at this year’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Global M&A activity so far this year has already reached $243 billion, making it the most active January since 2000 and 47 percent ahead of the $165 billion for all of January 2010, according to Thomson Reuters data.

PwC’s annual CEO confidence survey, released on Tuesday, showed optimism among CEOs had returned to almost the same level as before the financial crisis, with 48 percent of those questioned very confident about 2011 revenue growth.