Corporate merger activity reached its highest point since 2000 in the first three weeks of 2018, spurred on by near universal economic growth and the recent slashing of the U.S. corporate tax rate.
The value of mergers totaled $152.5 billion just three weeks into the year, the most significant activity since 2000, when the technology frenzy led to $374 billion in merger activity during the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Clarity on tax reform causes companies to be able to make decisions that they perhaps had on hold last year when things were less certain,” Susie Scher, co-head of Americas financing for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. told Bloomberg.
North American firms, unpopular as recently as last year, made up roughly 60 percent of all announced transactions thus far in 2018. Dominion Energy acquired South Carolina energy holding company Scana Corp. for $14.5 billion including debt in the biggest transaction of the year.
The recent corporate merger activity is just one of a number of positive public relations developments for Republicans, who pushed through historic tax reform legislation, which in addition to slashing corporate rates from 35 to 21 percent, cut individual rates and eliminated the Obamacare individual mandate.
At least 164 companies, including giants like Walmart, AT&T and American Airlines, have announced wage raises enabled by the corporate rate cut, according to a list compiled by the Washington Examiner.
A number of major utility companies, including Washington, D.C.-based Pepco, have announced they will pass along their tax savings to the consumer in the form of lower energy costs.
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