John Studzinski, who heads the merger and acquisitions advisory business at Blackstone Group LP (BX), said deals involving technology companies will increase this year amid rising confidence in corporate boardrooms.
“Those companies have an enormous amount of cash and they have boards that are more and more confident,” Studzinski said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “And they have to do acquisitions both from an offensive and from a defensive point of view. That’s just the beginning of a much bigger wave of M&A activity.”
Studzinski, 57, who joined New York-based Blackstone in 2006, said activist investors will help revive the deal market this year by identifying underperforming companies and pushing for change. Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC today said it bought a stake in wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc., betting that the company could be acquired by Sprint Corp. or Dish Network Corp. Loeb also disclosed activist stakes in Dow Chemical Co. and Ally Financial Inc.
“The activists are big catalysts,” said Studzinksi, who called Loeb a “thoughtful” activist. “They develop an investment thesis -- it’s normally very credible -- and then they sit and work with the company. I think this is going to be another rigorous year of activist activity.”
Deals globally rose 4.5 percent last year to $2.34 trillion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They included Verizon Communications Inc.’s proposed $130 billion acquisition of Vodafone Group Plc (VOD)’s stake in Verizon Wireless and the $24.9 billion leveraged buyout of computer maker Dell Inc. by private-equity firm Silver Lake Management LLC and Michael Dell.
Before joining Blackstone, Studzinski was co-head of investment banking at HSBC Holdings Plc and head of European investment banking at Morgan Stanley, where he started his career. Revenue at Blackstone’s M&A advisory business declined last year through Sept. 30 compared with the same period a year earlier because of “soft” deal activity around the world, the firm said in October.
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