Global acquisitions grabbed headlines in 2007. Will 2008 be crammed with news on domestic mergers and acquisitions?
Other than in airlines, the merger bug did not infect most parts of the economy. As a result, India is one of the rare countries that has more cross-border than local M&A activity.
But this is bound to change sooner or later. By then, the new competition regulator will be in business. Will it spur or squash the domestic M&A market?
Industry bodies have been rightly concerned that the regulator will take too much time to clear merger bids. The law gives it up to 210 days to give the green signal.
A PTI report says the Competition Commission of India (CCI) will clear 90% of the deals in less than two months. That could assuage some fears. But then, nine out of 10 merger proposals are likely to be small deals. What matters is how quickly large deals are cleared. The CCI has not told us much about that as yet.