One of the iconic commercials of the 1980s features the now-essential plastic item in every household, the trash bag, in which the promoted brand was put to the test against its wimpy, wimpy, wimpy competitor. Dealmakers hope comparing 2010’s pace of M&A to last year’s flow will allow them to boast hefty volume and consolidation.

Ebitda for the sector suffered throughout 2009, and only companies with a performance record during the recession are running numbers and commanding multiples that were truly appetizing. Of course, the occasional distressed seller popped up with a worthwhile asset, but sources who spoke with IDD's sister publication M&A Journal said only companies viewed as high-quality came to market. Raw materials costs ran high at a time when manufacturing suffered a downturn, providing a double-whammy impact to the sector that is still felt.

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