M&A: The big land grab

Large US banks with ambitions to become national franchise players now see that dream become more possible as slipping earnings bring weaker banks within acquisition range.

EU stability pact row threatens reform drive

The imminent accession of 10 countries to the European Union comes at an inauspicious time for the EU project, with the collapse of constitutional proposals and an undermined Stability and Growth Pact.

European banks have no response to US mergers

Regulation, historical rivalries, investor scepticism, language barriers and egos all stand in the way of large bank mergers in western Europe, where consolidation stalled at the end of the 1990s.

New ways to bridge public-private gap

Public shareholders have grown increasingly antagonistic to private-equity sponsors buying up companies on the cheap and refloating them at a premium in bull markets.

The return of IPOs

Private equity exits, privatizations, and spin-offs will reinvigorate the IPO market this year, helping IPOs to account for a greater share of equity capital markets business.