With Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G Capital's $23 billion purchase of H.J. Heinz Co. on Feb. 14, dealmakers wondered whether the pre-economic-downturn multi-billion dollar transactions they remembered so fondly had finally returned. But the question remains: Will that deal and the others that popped up around that time set the tone for M&A in 2013? If not, is the blockbuster merger poised to return at all?
On Feb. 20, Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) and OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX) announced a $1.2 billion merger that would combine the second- and third-biggest office supply retailers. The agreement was unveiled less than a week after American Airlines (OTCQB: AAMRQ) and U.S. Airways (NYSE: LCC) voted for an $11 billion deal to combine the two carriers - retaining the name American Airlines - and creating the largest airline in the world. Then there was Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) purchase of General Electric Co.'s (NYSE: GE) 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal for $16.7 billion on Feb. 12, and Silver Lake Partners taking Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) private for $24.4 billion.