This year likely will bring a significant expansion of activity in mergers and acquisitions as companies move to kick-start growth, as well as increased capital spending, according to a report from Citigroup's Financial Strategy Group. The researchers, headed by Carsten Stendevad, anticipate that merger activity, measured by value, will increase 17% worldwide. Many Asian firms are holding a huge amount of cash and will lead the activity, according to the report.

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