Last year was a bumper one for mergers and acquisitions in Italy as the value of activity more than tripled from $40 billion in 2004 to close to $130 billion in 2005 according to a new study published by KPMG Corporate Finance. Italys 400 or so mergers and acquisitions last year included the fourth largest worldwide, the $28 billion merger of Telecom Italia with its sister mobile phone wing TIM, and the sixth largest, Unicreditos $22.3 billion takeover of Bayerische Hypovereinsbank. The latter is a prominent sign of the increasing dynamism of Italian investors abroad with some 60 of the recorded M&As involving stakes in foreign companies. A second report by investment bankers Fineurop Soditic reveals that 2005 also marked the return of important foreign investors to Italy with the likes of Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers all taking significant stakes in the banking sector. The Fineurop report also predicts more M&A activity in 2006: companies from emerging countries like Russia, China and India are expected to make their presences felt and more takeovers of Italian banks by foreign operators are likely following the departure of Antonio Fazio from the Banca dItalia.