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M&A gravy train may prove lumpy

It must have been sweet music to the ears of bankers sitting in advisory departments across the globe. After two years of falling volumes, mass lay-offs and sorry looking deal pipelines, here was the M&A pick-up they had been dreaming about for so long. When it arrived, it did so in dramatic style. Over $80 billion of deals were announced on October 27, the biggest volume of deals announced on a single day since the height of the M&A boom in 2000.

Bank of America declared that it was paying around $47 billion in an all-stock deal for FleetBoston. Anthem agreed to pay $16.4 billion for WellPoint Health Networks to create the world's largest managed care company. British American Tobacco said it was merging its US subsidiary Brown & Williamson with US tobacco company RJ Reynolds in a $6.2 billion deal. China Telecom announced the acquisition of six regional networks for $9.7 billion and Mid Atlantic Medical Services accepted UnitedHealth Group's $2.85 billion bid.

This is great news for the banks working with these companies. Goldman is in on four of these deals so has been happily calculating its take while also advancing its lead at the top of the global M&A league tables.

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