Strategic Activity up Despite Market Slowdown

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Strategic transactions involving direct marketing firms increased 25 percent to 1,325 for the first nine months of 1998, but the total value of those transactions fell 24 percent to $26.3 billion, according to investment bank Gruppo, Levey & Capell.

Led by a 200 percent increase in equity investments, merger and acquisition activity increased 65 percent over 1997 with 659 total deals. Almost 43 percent of those deals occurred in the catalog, agency and interactive market segments.

A strong first half of the year offset across-the-board declines in strategic activity in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 due to stock market volatility and lowered earnings estimates. Total transactions were off 18 percent quarter to quarter, while initial public offerings dropped by 90 percent.

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