NEW YORK — Mergers and acquisitions are on a record pace this year, with the number of deals 1.2 percent higher than at the same period last year and the price tag of disclosed transactions more than double that of 2004.

At the close of the third quarter, there had been 1,868 mergers and/or acquisitions in the consumer goods, apparel and retail sectors, which compares with 1,845 deals in the same period last year, according to Mergerstat, a research firm. The disclosed value is $147.9 billion, versus $72 billion last year.

The largest number of transactions has been at retail, which had 1,158 mergers and/or acquisitions at the close of the third quarter. In 2004, there were 1,111 in the sector in the same period. In the apparel sector, there have been 189 deals so far, compared with 179 last year.

In the consumer goods sector, the number of transactions is behind last year’s pace. There have been 521 deals, which compares with 555 in 2004.

Despite fewer transactions, the consumer goods sector garnered higher total deal values. The tab on acquisitions in the sector is $73.3 billion, versus $17.5 billion last year. In the retail sector, the disclosed value of deals was $66.2 billion by the end of the third quarter, which compares with $48 billion last year. In the apparel sector, the tab is running at $8.5 billion, against $6.5 billion last year.

Some of the biggest deals have been in the consumer goods sector. They include: the $54 billion acquisition of Gillette Co. by Procter & Gamble & Co.; the $2.3 billion acquisition of paper and stationery supply company MeadWestvaco Corp. by Cerberus Capital Management, and the $1.2 billion acquisition of Calloway Golf Co. by MacGregor Golf Co.

In the retail sector, the $11.6 billion acquisition of May Department Stores Co. by Federated Department Stores Inc. is the largest to date. Other notable deals in retail with big price tags include the $5.9 billion acquisition of Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. by a consortium of private equity players, as well as the $5 billion sale of the Neiman Marcus Group to Warburg Pincus & Co. and Texas Pacific Group LLC.

This story first appeared in the October 4, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In the apparel sector, the biggest deal has been the $3.5 billion sale of Reebok International Ltd. to Adidas Salomon AG. Other high-priced, disclosed transactions include the $1.9 billion sale of World Co. Ltd. to Harbor Holdings Beta Co. and the $495 million sale of Norcross Safety Products LLC to Odyssey Investment Partners LLC.

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