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Finance M&A to jump

The European financial services market is set for a wave of mergers and acquisitions (M&amp;A) activity, according to Pricewaterhouse-Coopers.<br /><br />In its European Financial Markets M&amp;A Insights report, the accountancy firm said that the &ldquo;steady as she goes&rdquo; ethos that has been prevalent throughout 2009 will give way to a &ldquo;restructuring-led wave of deal activity&rdquo; as we move into 2010.<br /><br />&ldquo;Financial institutions will continue to identify, evaluate and sell their non-core businesses,&rdquo; said PwC partner Nick Page, adding that the post-crisis restructuring in the sector could bring an increased number of private equity-backed deals.<br /><br />&ldquo;An increasing number of firms have expressed interest in the sector &ndash; both in the intermediary and services area, as well as in the businesses that take the underwriting risk,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />The survey found that just &euro;32bn (&pound;29.2bn) worth of deals were announced in the first half of this year, compared with &euro;178bn for all of 2008. It added that if government activity were excluded, the figures would be just &euro;19bn for the first half, compared with &euro;70bn for all of 2008. <br />