Singed by contingents

The lively mergers and acquisitions market has driven strong growth in deal-contingent swaps in the past few years. But recent uncertainty in the credit markets, combined with the falling through of some private equity acquisitions, has caused difficulties for those dealers that priced these trades aggressively. By Jayne Jung


Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have been big business for investment banks in recent years. A record $4 trillion worth of deals was completed worldwide last year, and this was well on the way to being smashed in 2007, with volumes hitting $3.85 trillion in the first nine months of this year alone. It has been a gold mine for those banks with strong M&A franchises, with the top firms generating billions of dollars in fees.

But M&A advisory is not the only business to quicken the pulses of

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