Play M&A Activity Like a Pro With This ETF

Following a torrid pace in 2014, mergers and acquisitions activity is booming again in 2015. Sectors ripe for consolidation include energy, technology and, as usual, health care.

Last week, Citigroup forecast a 43% increase in global deal-making this year. To diminish the gap between stock price and deal-making, corporations will have to spend around $4 trillion in mergers and acquisitions this year, compared to $2.8 trillion in 2014, reports Bidness.etc.

Increased mergers and acquisitions could prove to be good news for merger arbitrage exchange traded funds such as the Index IQ Merger Arbitrage ETF (NYSEArca: MNA).

MNA and rival M&A ETFs provide investors with a diversified approach to a group of takeover targets. The ETFs employ a type of alternative, “directional hedge fund strategy” clled merger arbitrage. Specifically, the funds capture the spread or difference between a stock’s trading price before a deal is announced and its eventual takeover price. [A Look at M&A ETFs]

Said another way, M&A is not a bet on rumored takeover targets. While that means MNA does not always deliver jaw-dropping returns (the ETF has had its bouts of lagging the S&P 500), investors do gain the benefit of a favorable risk/reward scenario.

Merger arbitrage ETFs includes stocks of target companies in anticipation of earning a premium paid for the targeted stock once an announced deal closes. Additionally, it takes short positions in some acquirers as a potential hedge in the acquirer’s stock.