In addition to the shocking outcome of the presidential election, 2016 will likely be remembered as a big year for mergers and acquisitions. In October alone, U.S. companies signed off on $250 billion of mergers and acquisitions, the biggest monthly total in history.
Megadeals are all the rage these days, headlined by large ones such as the proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner by AT&T and Microsoft's $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn.
And if the cash balances of S&P 500 companies are any indication, there are more to come: combined, they're sitting on $1.46 trillion in cash and short-term investments as of the end of the second quarter, up 1.1% from a year ago. Microsoft and Alphabet boasted the biggest cash hoards, at $113.2 billion and $78.5 billion, respectively.
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But while the big deals get all the ink, smaller so-called "bolt-on" acquisitions can also profoundly change a company's direction and pay off handsomely for investors.
One deal that could fall into that category is the purchase of privately held Marken by United Parcel Service (UPS) , announced on Monday. Marken, which is based in Durham, N.C., and Chiswick, England, ships around 50,000 medicines and biological samples to 50,000 destinations around the world every month.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed; UPS expects it to close by year-end.
The move extends UPS's reach into the health care space, an area where the company has built a lot of expertise in recent years.
In October 2015, for example, the shipping giant opened a facility in Swedesboro, N.J., devoted exclusively to storing and delivering medical devices. That's in addition to UPS's 1.4-million-square-foot temperature-controlled space in Louisville, Ky., that's designed specifically for handling drugs, medical devices and biological samples.
It sounds like an obscure niche market, but biopharma logistics is big business, with spending expected to hit $12.6 billion in 2016 and $16.7 billion by 2020.