|By Neal St. Anthony and Patrick Kennedy, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The next day,
Then in December,
In all, 107 Minnesota-connected merger transactions were struck in the fourth quarter, the biggest quarter of the year.
"It was a strong comeback year for mergers and acquisitions in
The drive to finish deals was hastened by the fiscal cliff debate and the fate of long-term capital gains rates. (Taxes on dividends and long-term capital gains remained the same for most taxpayers, but for high-income earners and couples, the long-term capital gains rate moved from 15 percent to 20 percent for 2013.)
But Knopf also said deals are getting done because, more than three years into the economic recovery, buyers have gained confidence in the future and sellers of "strong businesses that performed through the recession are getting favorable prices and there is capital ... to support them. They vary by sector, but we are seeing sale prices at healthy multiples of earnings."
A recent PwC survey found that 90 percent of top executives expect to see the same or a higher level of acquisitions this year. Active merger and IPO markets are indicative of growing business confidence that has slowly recovered since the Great Recession bottom of
For the year,
The fourth-quarter surge has led to a so-far-quiet January.
"Right now everything is very quiet and bankers aren't pitching much so the pipeline is light," said
Pace expected to quicken
Shares of the
Nationally, 130 companies went public last year in initial public offerings and 601 sold additional stock in public markets, the best numbers infive years.
"The window is open for equity offerings, and we expect to see a pickup in late February and March after companies report their fourth quarter earnings and complete their year-end audits," Hartfiel said. "Investors are back to looking for new ideas."
Said Griffith, of
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