The future of bank M&A took clearer shape in 2013. A certain kind of deal, the merger of equals, rose to the fore and that momentum has carried into 2014. The trend coincides with a change in dealmaking styles. Buyers used to win banks in pricey, unpredictable auctions. Now they have to be friendly masters of the negotiating table, and often have to conduct patient talks over an extended period of time. It all sounds very friendly, but it's hard to do.

Buyers used to win banks in pricey, unpredictable auctions. Now they have to be friendly masters of the negotiating table.

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