Whatever the condition of the stock markets may be in the months ahead, announcements issued over the past couple of days indicate that a merger-and-acquisition spree of bull-market proportions is in the offing. (They’re also at odds with a recent study that suggested “mega deals” were on the outs.) Here are highlights of the more-prominent deals, which come to over $23 billion:

  • Mylan Laboratories Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of generic drugs, has agreed to acquire King Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a stock swap worth about $4 billion. Mylan’s goal is to expand its branded drug business, the companies announced on Monday, according to wire service reports.

King’s most important product is Altace, a drug for hypertension that generates annual sales of about $450 million. Mylan hopes to use the Altace sales force to help market a new hypertension drug of its own called nebivolol, which is being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.

  • Boise Cascade Corp. on Monday announced plans to sell its forest products and timberland assets to a new company formed by Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, a Chicago investment firm, for $3.2 billion in cash and about $500,000 in debt payoffs and reinvestments.

After that deal, which should be completed in November, the venerable Idaho-based company will change its name to OfficeMax, the retail chain it bought a year ago for $1.2 billion in cash and stock.

  • Global news and information company Reuters Group Plc is close to an agreement to buy smaller rival Moneyline Telerate, according to the website of The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter. The proposed transaction values Moneyline Telerate at $200 million to $300 million; Reuters would make any payment in a mixture of cash and stock.
  • Spain’s Santander Central Hispano struck Europe’s biggest cross-border bank takeover deal on Monday when it agreed to buy Britain’s Abbey National for about 8.25 billion pounds ($15.1 billion). Abbey shareholders will receive one Santander share for every Abbey share. Abbey will also pay a special dividend of 25 pence plus 6 pence for a dividend differential, for a total of 31 pence in cash per Abbey share.

Santander estimates that cost and revenue synergies from the deal will lead to an additional contribution to earnings before tax of 560 million euros by the third year following completion of the transaction, according to Reuters.

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