NEW YORK -- (
) -- In case tech mergers needed a little nudge, some analysts have crafted a matchmaking list of likely linkup targets and potential suitors.
Sensing that current valuations, growth ambitions and a ready supply of cash have now combined for some hot M&A chemistry, Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal has prepared a scouting report of Internet companies in the deal arena.
On one side you have the big would-be buyers. On the other, there is a host of smaller players. The big fish are
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(GOOG - Get Report)
(MSFT - Get Report)
(YHOO - Get Report)
, according to Aggarwal.
"All of the top five-largest Internet companies will likely be acquisitive during the remainder of 2009 and 2010, with Yahoo and Google leading the pack," Aggarwal writes Wednesday.
The leading takeout candidates, however, are private shops, putting the possible feeding frenzy outside the stock market's reach, at least until an IPO date.
are among the top names on Aggarwal's list. Three public companies -- Web metrics specialist
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, online ad maker
and IT marketing shop
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-- made Aggarwal's roster.
Presumably, for the merger minded, the strategic prize lies in the expansive opportunity that the Internet still represents.
"With the evolving needs in the Internet, the largest Internet companies are taking advantage by acquiring -- top talent, killer applications, geographical/category focused companies, or companies operating in newer categories," writes Aggarwal.