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5 Unexpected Deals Themes for 2012


1. A looming debt crisis, won't curtail deals by African, Malaysian, Colombian and Mexican companies, in addition to those in BRIC's.

Even as cross border fears rattle markets on a daily basis, Krouskos says that after a boom in Chinese and Brazilian mergers and acquisitions, don't be surprised to see companies in Africa, Malaysia and less talked about Latin American countries like Colombia and Mexico be active in 2012.

While some deal making may be between companies unfamiliar to U.S. retail investors, it doesn't mean that the trend won't hit U.S. companies. In 2011, Symantec (SYMC), Chesapeake Energy (CHK), Cephalon and Canada's Daylight Energy cut large deals with players in those regions, among others.

While China reported that its GDP increased at the slowest rate in two years in the third quarter, growing at a 9.1% annualized rate, an Ernst & Young's Capital Confidence Barometer shows that "China will be the number one country in the world where companies are looking to invest or execute deals in the next year."

Recently, deals like Huawei's $530 million purchase of an Asian joint-venture with Mountain View, Ca. -based Symantec, taken with Sinopec's reported interest in assets held by Marathon Oil (MRO) and talks that China's Alibaba is looking to buy out minority-owned Asian assets held by Yahoo (YHOO) potentially show increasing deal finesse that may lead to further Chinese deals involving U.S. companies.

Booming Brazilian deals this year, which according to Dealogic utilities and energy sector data are near record levels, might spill to other Latin American neighbors like Colombia and Mexico in 2012. December deals in the region have included a $100 million minority stake and partnership deal cut by Delta (DAL) in Brazil's Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOL) and Banco Santander's (STD) sale of a 95% stake in Colombian CorpBanca for $1.16 billion.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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