(Bloomberg) -- Major acquisitions can get through regulatory scrutiny if they are “well-planned,” with regulatory work done by companies involved in the deals ahead of time, said Mark McMaster, Lazard Inc.’s global head of mergers and acquisitions.

“Big deals still can get done,” McMaster said in a Bloomberg Television interview Tuesday. “They’ll face antitrust scrutiny, but as you know there have been a couple of cases that have given issuers and the transactors some confidence that they can get things done today.”

Total M&A volume in the first quarter totaled $352.3 billion, up 70% from a year earlier and the highest for the period since 2022, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rebound of deal activity after a prolonged drought has been boosted by the comeback of megadeals, led by Capital One Financial Corp.’s planned $35 billion takeover of Discover Financial Services. 

Read More: Capital One to Buy Discover for $35 Billion in Top 2024 Deal

Such transactions have attracted scrutiny from legislators. A group of 16 lawmakers led by Maxine Waters — the top Democrat on the House Committee on Financial Services — called on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other regulators to overhaul their merger-review procedures for banks following the announcement by Capital One and Discover, saying that the deal may harm consumers and put the stability of the US financial system at risk.

Almost half of big deals are all-stock transactions, which have the “advantage of not leveraging up the balance sheet” in the current environment, McMaster said Tuesday. “Investors are receptive to deals that make strategic sense.”

New York-based Lazard has been expanding, with a goal of bringing on more senior dealmakers this year amid investor optimism that the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates later this year, spurring a further pickup in mergers and acquisitions. Chief Executive Officer Peter Orszag, who took over leadership of the company in October, laid out plans to double revenue by the end of the decade.

--With assistance from Sonali Basak.

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