The stage is set for strategic buyers. Uncertainty over macroeconomic issues may have dimmed the corporate lights on M&A plans in previous years, but 2014 is providing a more promising script. Debt financing is readily available; many corporations boast significant cash on their balance sheets; shareholders are clamoring for more than just share buybacks; and companies are scouring for targets at home and abroad with more immediacy than before. CEOs are viewing the M&A scene with more confidence than they have in a long time. (For more on trends in M&A driven by strategic buyers, Watch the video, below, with Jan Monster, director corporate development of Teleflex Inc.)

Ametek (NYSE: AME) provides a good showcase for the trend. The Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based maker of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices has inked five acquisitions in 2014 and expects to do more, says William Eginton (pictured), senior vice president of corporate development.

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