The tight credit market is depressing M&A activity. The value of canceled mergers so far this quarter has hit $322 billion -- almost equal to the value of completed mergers. But The Economist predicts a huge M&A boom once the financial markets recover: "Industry troubles will likely make private-equity firms more enthusiastic sellers than buyers, creating a big opportunity for companies to do 'strategic' M&A -- buying their weaker rivals, cutting costs and so forth."

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