Last week, we shared a number of articles discussing the changing federal contracting landscape that has been brought upon by lower government budgets. This week, we’re back with another news recap, featuring updates on regional M&A activity, as well as new research findings.

Below is a collection of M&A and government contracting articles presenting some of the latest events in the world of mergers, acquisitions, and federal contracts. This week’s highlights include a proposed federal contracting rule, and August M&A figures:

Hospital Mergers are Driving up Costs, Researchers Say

Wall Street mergers have become commonplace in the last two decades as everything from airlines to hotel chains have consolidated. Researchers at Johns Hopkins believe that it’s bad news for consumers when hospitals merge. They allege that, more often than not, it leads to higher costs and declining services. The researchers, writing in the journal JAMA, say there has been too much hospital consolidation lately.

Proposed Federal Contracting Rule Bad for Small Businesses, Good for Unions, Critics Say

It sounds simple enough: The federal government shouldn’t do business with companies that violate labor laws. That’s the premise behind a proposed regulation that would require companies to disclose any labor law violations when they’re pursuing federal contracts worth more than $500,000.

North American M&A Activity Subdued in August

Growth in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity targeting North American companies stalled in August, a trend generally seen at this time of year as the vacation period takes hold. There were 946 transactions worth a combined USD 175,684 million over the four weeks, compared to 1,290 deals worth USD 274,344 million in July, representing a 36 percent decrease in monetary terms. While value was also down on the same time a year ago, it fell at the slower rate of 5 percent (August 2014: 184,385 million).

Agencies Rely on Contractor Tool to Spot Procurement Errors

Does federal contract award data need a few good proofreaders? According to Jeff Sopko, executive vice president of the Alexandria, Va.-based PotomacWave consulting firm, about 20 percent to 30 percent of records in the government’s procurement database contain errors. “They stem from frequent changes in policy and procedures that take time to be implemented in source contract writing, as well as human errors,” he said. “The errors get pushed from the contract writing system to [the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation] with few validation checks.”

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