Plunge in oil prices could drive mergers and acquisitions

The plunge in the price of oil to a five-year low may trigger a new wave of mergers and acquisitions in the United States energy sector, reports Smart Investor. The magazine says highly leveraged and smaller producers struggling to cope with oil prices below $70 a barrel could be forced to sell assets to remain financially viable. “I think you will see a bunch of companies with fairly strong balance sheets start looking to be acquirers,” John Howell, chief executive of Houston-based Portfolio Decisions, told Smart Investor.