Merger activity was subdued through the 1970s, but the perception that the Reagan administration was sympathetic to "corporate raiders" renewed interest in mergers. Antitrust guidelines announced in 1982 fostered conglomerate mergers and also allowed horizontal or vertical mergers that would have been challenged by earlier administrations. During the 1980s over 31,000 mergers and acquisitions with a total value of $1.34 trillion were consummated. Table 2 lists the largest U.S. mergers in history.
Table 2 MISSING!! (Marco12-All 27)
The late 1980s and early 1990s witnessed both mergers and their flip side, voluntary restructuring---the jettisoning of bad acquisitions. Nearly 30 percent of all acquisition activity in the 1980s (roughly 10,000 deals) involved sell-offs of corporate assets. Today, many firms are scaling back to "do what they do best."