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Hurdles slow US energy deal-making

Market turmoil is making it difficult for buyers and sellers to come together

When oil prices started to crumple last year and signs of distress in the shale sector arrived in thickets, many saw a wave of mergers and acquisitions looming on the horizon. Private equity raised tens of billions of dollars to spend in the shale patch. Oil majors primed themselves to pick off the choice acreage they had missed in the early stages of shale’s rise. But across North America the biggest sound made by M&A in the shale sector has been a resounding fizzle. Only around $12bn in shale deals were done in 2015, the lowest number in six years. Early 2016 shows that things haven’t perked up yet this year, either. The volatile and low oil price has been a major hurdle. On one side

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