A curbing merge urge Featured

9:38am EDT July 22, 2002

The world's a big place that's getting smaller -- but now at a slower pace.

That might be a conclusion drawn from mergers and acquisitions activity for the second quarter of 2000, as reported by Mergerstat. Second quarter numbers for U.S. dealmakers were $248 billion, compared to $471 billion for the first quarter.

The culprit? Mergerstat's analysts blame it on "some nasty inflation jitters and a volatile stock market that made U.S. dealmakers a much more cautious lot."

While total deals dropped off, Mergerstat, a Los Angeles research firm that tracks M&A activity, finds that many of the biggest deals were cross-border combinations, like Unilever's offer of Bestfoods Inc., which will produce the world's largest food maker at $52 billion in annual sales.

The strongest domestic segments? Transactions in the computer software, supplies and services industry continue at a brisk pace, with 513 deals in the second quarter. That is down, however, from the 726 recorded in the record-breaking first quarter of this year. The slowest segment was the retail industry, with 96 transactions. How to reach: Mergerstat, www.mergerstat.com Ray Marano