New York -- Mergers and acquisitions in the publishing industry through the first five months of 1999 are ahead of last year's record pace, according to figures released by media investment bankers DeSilva & Phillips, New York. Through May, 52 M&A deals had been completed in the magazine industry, a figure that was 15.6% more than in the same period of 1998. Similarly, the value of these 1999 deals, which stands at $2.2 billion, was 46.3% ahead of the pace set last year. The biggest transaction so far this year was the purchase of CMP Media by United News & Media, the parent of Miller Freeman, for $920 million. Industry observers see no end in sight for the trend. "It's kind of like Mark McGwire," said Robert Crosland, managing director of AdMedia Partners, New York. "You knew he was going to break the [home run] record, but you never thought he'd do it by so much."