Let's Make a Deal
With merger mania back in fashion, deals are sprouting across Europe this spring. Globally, companies and investors struck deals totaling $589 billion in the first quarter, $91 billion more than a year ago, says Thomson Financial, which calculates that the level of activity in the past six months is the highest since 2000. What's propelling the merger boom?

The rise of private equity investment groups, including U.S.-based Carlyle Group, which announced last week that it has raised about $2.2 billion to spend on European acquisitions. Such firms accounted for more...

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