The Biggest Deals of 2012: Mergers, Acquisitions in Arkansas Make for a Busy Year

Deal-making activity in Arkansas picked up in 2012 over 2011 levels, with the number of mergers and acquisitions believed to be valued at $9 million or more rising to 81 last year compared with 70 the year before.

Worldwide, the value of mergers and acquisitions last year totaled $2.6 trillion, according to financial data firm Thomson Reuters. That was a 2 percent increase over 2011.

Spinoffs and divestitures accounted for 47 percent of the global total ($1.2 trillion), Thomson Reuters said, the highest annual share since records began in 1980.

The value of announced M&A globally soared 53 percent in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the previous quarter of 2012. And that bulge in activity was especially true in the United States, according to Marshall McKissack, the managing director who leads the M&A practice at Stephens Inc. in Little Rock.

“With the pending fiscal cliff issues and the potential expiration of the Bush tax cuts for capital gains, there was really a flurry of activity across the U.S. for owners and shareholders to get transactions done by the Dec. 31 deadline,” McKissack said last week. “And we were no different. It was a busy month for us and a big fourth quarter.”

By Jan Cottingham of Gwen Moritz contributed to this report.

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