Wall Street is betting on boom times in mergers and acquisitions


While some would argue it never really left, Wall Street’s swagger is back, at least when it comes to the lucrative business of corporate matchmaking.

High-profile deals like Facebook’s $19 billion proposed purchase of messaging company WhatsApp and Dollar Tree’s $8.5 billion bid for rival discount chain Family Dollar have helped put mergers and acquisitions on their best pace in years. Some of the newfound M&A activity has been spurred by corporate executives itching to put capital to work and by a new class of so-called tax-inversion deals (paywall) meant to allow companies in one country to benefit from lower taxes in another.

So far in 2014, there have been roughly $2.3 trillion in announced M&A transactions. That’s 44% higher than in the same period last year, when $1.6 trillion in deals were in the works. (Activity still lags the 2007 high of $3.1 trillion in deals proposed through the beginning…

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