We expect a pickup in mergers and acquisitions in 2010, says Matthew Cockburn in The Globe and Mail

Conditions Ripe for M&A Rebound

December 31, 2009

As a sleepy year for mergers and acquisitions draws to a close, the deal makers at Torys predict a rebound in 2010 as Canadian buyers go shopping abroad in search of richer markets for growth, and as polluters gobble up emerging green energy companies.

"We think there's going to be a pickup in mergers and acquisitions in 2010, as players come back to the table. We also see emerging trends such as shareholder activism and buying green," says Matthew Cockburn, co-head of Torys' M&A group. Canada's pension funds, he adds, which were among the only active buyers in 2009, will continue to lead the charge when it comes to making deals outside the country.

The trend to more shareholder activism is creating what some are calling the new M&A – a slew of proxy fights. For those attempting to gain control of smaller companies, throwing out the board and installing a friendlier slate can be cheaper, and as regulators give more power to shareholders, effective.

"Shareholders are enjoying the new voice they have and the regulatory environment, particularly in the United States, is just going to push the pendulum even further," says Sharon Geraghty, co-head of Torys' M&A group. "When shareholders talk, the message is you have to listen."

Read the full article here.

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