Investors and businesses are scrambling to complete mergers and acquisitions before the end of the year to avoid possible increases in federal capital gains taxes in 2013, attorneys and investment bankers say.

Karen C. McConnell, a partner in Ballard Spahr's Phoenix office and Practice Leader of the firm's Mergers and Acquisitions/Private Equity Group, said business owners want to lock in the current capital gains rates.

“It’s all tax-driven,” said Ms. McConnell, who is having her busiest year in the 28 years she has been practicing M&A law.