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Private Equity Shaking off the Dust?


Before Memorial Day, I wondered if the long weekend would produce any big new M&A deals. Maybe, I thought, the stock market would begin to see the fruit of some potentially positive trends for the mergers-and-acquisitions market. Would the weak dollar, relatively cheap valuations and more corporate buyers offset the credit crisis and the dearth of private equity buyers?

Well, Tuesday arrived and there wasn’t much to say. A few deals but nothing major — hardly, as those dealmaking lawyers might say, dispositive. In the background, InBev continues to sniff around Anheuser-Busch (BUD) and other U.S. brewers. And BW colleague Gene Marcial reports negotiations over Yahoo (YHOO) are intensifying. So the M&A market still has plenty of chances to prove itself — or fall flat on its face.

There was one other, little noticed M&A story that is worth watching though: Private equity players Blackstone Group (BX) and Apollo Management are considering buying Chemtura (CEM), the Wall Street Journal reports. With a market capitalization of $2 billion, it’s a small-to-medium size firm, so it doesn’t present the same credit challenges of big M&A deals. But still, could this be an early sign that private equity is starting to get back in the swing of things?


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