Winners and losers: Ten headline-making M&A deals


Compared to the frenzied deal-making pace of 2006 and 2007, mergers and acquisitions have slowed significantly this year. It's not surprising: In tough times, companies are less certain about their strategic direction and less likely to get the credit they need to follow through on an acquisition.

That doesn't mean there won't be M&A activity this year. A good many companies run the risk that their businesses will be seriously impacted if a key supplier, for instance, goes out of business. Better to acquire that supplier than see it disappear. Banks could find that acquiring another bank improves their credit issues. Cash rich technology companies now have good opportunities to buy smaller companies, without having to load up on debt.

M&A can bolster companies and make them stronger, but it can also have other consequences, sometimes unintended, such as unhappy changes to long-loved products. (Click here to read: From cookies to cars, corporate takeovers redefine American products).