The fourth quarter of 2009 has seen M&A deals increase in value by 52 per cent, a surge helped by takeovers carried out by Exxon Mobil and Berkshire Hathaway.
Berkshire Hathaway, which is owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, agreed to pay $34 billion to take control of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) last month, as well as taking on $10 billion worth of BNSF debt.
But Dieter Turowski, Morgan Stanley's head of European M&A, told Bloomberg that this pace of growth is unlikely to be sustained next year.
"If you look at previous M&A cycles, the first year after the trough is always one of gentle recovery before things pick up," he said.
"It's going to take us a couple of years to get back up to peak volumes."
By Gary Cooper