What I think we see today at The New Times is an instance of a writer and his editors trying to find a pattern where none might exist.
The muddled result is reflected in the headline: “Are Mergers Back? Well, Sort Of.” The writers tries a variety of hypotheses, but his main thrust is to find confidence and optimism among an alleged tumult of M&A activity during the month of August.
However, as comments from prominent investment bankers quoted in the body of the story make clear, sometimes a deal is just a deal. Each one happens for its own reasons, and sometimes its significance doesn’t extend further than its own narrow specificity and frame of reference.
Seeing What We Want to See
As humans, we all like to see associations and patterns in what happens around us, whether we’re observing events in business, economics, politics, or technology. Occasionally, however, we see what we want to see, not what’s really there. I think that’s what happened in the New York Times today.
The writer wanted to see a new wave of market confidence in a putative surge of M&A activity. There are two problems, though: The supposed surge might be nothing more than an uncoordinated spasm, and the confidence might not exist.
Reading the comments of the industry luminaries cited in the story, one could make a case that many of the latest mergers are driven as much by considerations of efficiency and savings as by any anticipation of robust market growth.