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M&A deals in Europe halve

EUROPEAN mergers and acquisitions have plummeted by 51 per cent so far this year compared with 2008, amid the ongoing liquidity drought and fears about the economy recovery.<br /><br />In 2009 to date, Europe has seen a some $356.6bn (&pound;215.6bn) worth of deal activity. Excluding government bailouts in struggling companies, this figure falls to just $239.1bn &ndash; down 67 per cent on last year, according to Thomson Reuters.<br /><br />The financial information group&rsquo;s weekly M&amp;A report said the top deal last week was the move by German utility group E.On to sell its natural gas distribution arm Thuega to a consortium of national rivals for $4.1bn. <br /><br />Wall Street investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, which advised Thuega and the company called @visory Partners that advised the consortium, will share an estimated $30m to $35m in fees when the deal completes, the report said. <br /><br />But while mergers in Europe are tailing off, in the States listings of firms on the stock market are beginning to take off again as last week was the biggest for US initial public offerings since April 2008.<br /><br />Three firms listed on US exchanges last week, raising $1.2bn in total.<br /><br />And the latest tally of firms advising M&amp;A deals shows Morgan Stanley is still top dog this year.<br />&nbsp;<br />The bank has now boosted its market share by 18.1 per cent compared to this point last year.