EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been changed to correct the spelling of consultancy Conway MacKenzie, and the title of Peter Smidt. The spelling of Redbend Software has also been corrected.
It's a banner year for mergers and acquisitions.
In the first six months, the world's automotive suppliers have spent $28 billion to buy other companies -- more than in all of last year, when M&A deals totaled $20 billion, according to AlixPartners, a New York consulting firm that specializes in corporate turnarounds.
If the dealmaking continues at its current pace, the auto industry may approach or top the $45 billion in M&A activity achieved in 2011.
"This looks like a big year already," said Mark Wakefield, managing director of AlixPartners. Corporate CEOs "feel like they've done enough housecleaning, and now they want to look around and be strategic."
Two factors are driving the trend: inexpensive financing and automakers' transition to global platforms, which has pressured suppliers to beef up their most profitable divisions.
Some recent deals:
- In July, BorgWarner agreed to buy Remy International Inc. for $951 million. Remy's alternators, starters and hybrid motors will expand BorgWarner's portfolio of powertrain components.
- In February, Mahle GmbH struck a deal to acquire Delphi's thermal division for $727 million. The acquisition elevates Mahle into the top ranks of that product segment.
- In April, Spain's Grupo Antolin agreed to purchase Magna International's interiors unit for $525 million.
- In January, Harman International said it would acquire two software suppliers -- Redbend Software and Symphony Teleca -- for a combined $950 million.