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Report: U.S. Business Mergers at Highest Levels Since 2001

Report: U.S. Business Mergers at Highest Levels Since 2001
Image credit: aatcomment.org.uk

New figures reflecting dynamic stateside merger activity in 2013 indicate promise and momentum for the U.S. business community as a whole.

Last year, business mergers in the U.S. reportedly totaled more than $1 trillion, and accounted for roughly 43 percent of all mergers worldwide. This represents the largest proportion of mergers for the U.S. since 2001 and the largest since the financial collapse of 2008.

Throughout the rest of the world, deal-making was relatively flat -- as it has remained over the past four consecutive years.

These numbers confirm that American business leaders -- emboldened by a buoyant economy and stabilizing political climate -- are looking further down the pipeline toward broader processes and long term visions as opposed to day-to-day survival, analysts said.

Related: Elance and oDesk Announce Merger That Would Create Freelancing Giant

"There's a feeling of a more stable backdrop that executives think will be with us for the foreseeable quarters," Blair W. Effron, co-founder of investment bank Centerview Partners, told the New York Times. "I didn't have a sense of that at the end of 2012 or 2011."

Additionally encouraging was that merger activity tended to pick up toward the final half of 2013, with volumes increasing drastically then.

And for roughly two-thirds of the mergers that occurred in 2013, the market rewarded buyers with a 5 percent increased stock price on a sustained basis, according to Goldman Sachs.

The largest deal of the year -- and one of the most expensive transactions of all time -- was Verizon's long-awaited purchase of the stake in Verizon Wireless that it did not already own from Vodafone for $130 billion.

Verizon was spurred to make the purchase due to relatively low interest rates care of the Fed's stimulus program, which is slated to begin tapering in 2014. 

Related: Publicis Omnicom and the Tricky Business of a Merger of Equals

Geoff Weiss is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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