LOS ANGELES -- Merger and acquisition activity in the U.S. in 2002 was down considerably from the preceding year, according to data released by Mergerstat here. ny pointed out that the emergence of private-equity buyers in the second half of 2002 could indicate increased activity among those types of firms in 2003. Such companies, which include Bain Capital, KKR, Hicks Muse and others, accounted for 11% of the mergers-and-acquisitions market in 2002, the largest share of any group.

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