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Special Report

Our Take on Pending Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions grind to a halt after a run of boom times.

The excuses for the slowdown vary, but the evidence is striking. According to Thomson Financial Securities Data, worldwide M&A volume dropped 54% in the first half of the year. And other than a couple of major announcements--such as Hewlett-Packard  acquiring Compaq --the trend seems to be continuing.

In some sectors, overcapacity and a spate of mergers that have yet to be digested have left some companies hesitant to bite off more than they can chew. In other cases, potential buyers say their weak stock prices are preventing them from acquiring other companies. Still others want to wait for better economic times before they go on a buying spree.

Nonetheless, of the deals now on the table and the ones that have been completed recently, only a few excite us. Here's a look at some buyers and sellers, along with others that have been forced to the sidelines.

General Motors (GM) wants to sell its Hughes Electronics division, which owns DirectTV. Two companies--EchoStar (DISH) and News Corp. --have shown an interest in buying it. Who stands to gain and who stands to lose? Flip channels among these three analyses-- GM,  EchoStar, and  News Corp.--to find out.

Cooper Industries  wants to sell out and it has one offer on the table. But will a deal go through? Analyst Josh Peters  handicaps the odds.

First Union has failed at acquisitions before.  Click here to find out whether the company has learned from its mistakes or whether its recent merger with Wachovia  will spell more trouble.

Since  Hewlett-Packard announced a deal to acquire  Compaq, investors have said the plans do not compute. Click on either company's analysis to find out why.

Cisco (CSCO) has been a major acquirer for years, but its deal count has dropped in 2001. Analyst Jay Ritter sorts out when growth will return to "normal" and  what it means for investors.

Craig Woker does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.