Yesterday was Yom Kippur, which means yours truly was fasting and praying and reflecting on a year’s worth of sins, searching for the capacity to forgive while hoping others can do the same.
While I was fasting, M&A activity moved into the fast lane. Consider these deals announced yesterday:
Xerox will acquire Affiliated Computer Services for $6.4 billion. ACS announced last month plans to hire 465 workers inRaleigh in addition to approximately 700 already here. No word on whether this deal will affect local hiring plans.
Johnson & Johnson is acquiring an 18% stake in Crucell NV, a Dutch biotech company, for $444 million.
Abbott Labs will acquire the drug business of Solvay, a Belgian firm, for $6.6 billion, making 3 acquisitions announced this month by Abbott. The others were Evalve, Inc. for $410 million and Visiogen for $400 million.
And Kraft Foods is reported to be launching a hostile takeover bid for Cadbury Plc, at a value of $17.4 billion.
So what are experts and pundits (hard to distinguish) saying about M&A now?
“Will you see us move with a lot of acquisitions over this next year? You betcha,” John Chambers, the chief executive of Cisco Systems, said in a recent meeting. “Especially if it plays out economically the way that I think.”
“The transactions suggest that the most senior ranks of corporate America may now have a more optimistic outlook on the economy than some people thought,” writes DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin.
“The psychology has changed. This is sign that things have stabilized,” said Boon Sim, Credit Suisse’s head of mergers and acquisitions for the Americas, who suggested that deals were a lagging indicator to the stock market.
“The conditions look increasingly propitious.” So writes Matthew Curtin of the Wall St. Journal. Propitious? What the heck does that mean? According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, propitious means favorably disposed or being a good omen. That’s actually a pretty good word to add to my vocabulary; I’ll try to use it on my own sometime (but I digress).
— David Bass
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