Bernstein: M&A Activity To Rise 35% in 2010

(Reuters) – Global merger and acquisition activity would rise as much as 35 percent in 2010 as improving economic conditions bolster dealmaking, a positive for Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N), research firm Sanford C. Bernstein said in a note.

The financial services sector will continue to be the most active sector for M&A in 2010 and there would growing focus on deals in real estate and debt restructuring, Bernstein’s Brad Hintz said.

Despite the sharp bounce from the depressed level set this year, Hintz does not expect M&A activity to cross the peak set in 2007 within the next 4 years.

A recovering M&A market, which translates into more fees for brokerage firms advising on deals, will benefit Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs the most as both firms have long maintained market leading share positions of the market, Hintz said.

The analyst rates both Morgan Stanley and Goldman as “outperform.”

Based on his forecasts for M&A pricing, which Hintz estimates will remain attractive he expects global M&A fees to total $17.2 billion in 2010 and increasing to $22.6 billion in 2013.