How big does a company need to be these days to compete?

“We talked to a number of the hedge funds who said every one of the sub-$1 billion public companies should not exist,” said Nick Woodruff, managing director at RBC Richardson Barr during an M&A roundtable at the recent DUG Midcontinent Conference. “And, in fact, every one of the sub-$5 billion companies should not exist.”

That’s an exaggeration, he admitted, but scale is the preeminent theme among investors and members of the panel expect a slew of consolidations to take effect in the next two years.