WRAPUP 1-Global M&A falls in 2008, ends 5 years of growth
* Worldwide M&A drops 44 pct in Q4, down 31 pct in 2008
* Goldman Sachs is top adviser globally
* Private equity nearly absent from deal activity
* Record number of M&A deals withdrawn
By Jessica Hall
PHILADELPHIA, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Global merger volume dropped by almost a third in 2008, ending five years of deal growth as a lack of available credit, plunging stock markets and a worldwide financial crisis undermined companies' ability to make acquisitions.
Global merger volume totalled $2.89 trillion, marking the lowest annual volume since 2005, based on preliminary data from Thomson Reuters.
In perhaps the most dramatic sign of how troubled the M&A market was this year, a record number of previously agreed deals -- over 1,100 -- were cancelled.
"The thing about the last 12 weeks ... the world has completely changed," said Howard Lanser, director of mergers and acquisitions at investment bank Robert W. Baird. Continuación...