Mergers Are Back in Fashion—for Now

After years of holding back as Europe lurched from crisis to crisis, the region’s companies are leading a global dealmaking comeback. Western European buyers announced $149 billion of acquisitions in the first three months of the year, a gain of almost 60 percent over the same period in 2013 and the biggest jump worldwide, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Interest rate cuts and central bank pledges to buy the bonds of crisis-hit countries have boosted business confidence in Europe, and the euro area economy grew more than economists expected in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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