Hostile Bids Help Set 6-Month Merger Record

Bloomberg News

Global corporate marriages reached $1.5 trillion in the first half, the best six months on record, helped by the largest amount of hostile bids ever.

More than half the transactions announced worldwide, or $829.1 billion, came in the second quarter, the second-best three months ever. About $169 billion worth, or 20% of those, came from unwelcome suitors. Several of the largest were unfriendly.

AT&T; Corp. won MediaOne Group Inc. with a $63.1-billion bid that topped Comcast Corp. Qwest Communications International Inc. is battling Global Crossing Ltd. for US West Inc. and Frontier Corp. with a $53.3-billion combined offer. Spain's Repsol won Argentina's YPF with a $17.2-billion bid.

"Everybody's talking about the return of hostile transactions," said Robert Cotter, head of mergers and acquisitions for Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney.

The dollar value of hostile bids topped the previous quarterly record of $63.7 billion set in 1988's second quarter, the heyday of corporate raiders. That quarter's proportion of hostile bids, at 63%, still stands as highest.

In rankings of merger advisors, Merrill Lynch & Co. took first place, working on 100 transactions worth $314.7 billion, or 39% of the total value of all deals, in the second quarter, according to figures through June 28 from Securities Data Co., a unit of Thomson Financial Securities Data.

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