The Big Grab

Deal mania may be even hotter in Europe this year

It's a statistic no one in the corporate world would have thought possible just a few years ago. In 1999, the value of mergers in Europe hit $1.5 trillion, almost double the $988 billion total for 1998 and approaching the record $1.9 trillion in the U.S. "European chief executives are feeling pressure from shareholders and boards to focus on mergers and acquisitions in an effort to improve returns," says Daniel M. Dickinson, head of European M&A at Merrill Lynch & Co. in London. And when there's pressure, there are deals.

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