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PE Acquisitions Hit Speed Bump

By Armie Margaret Lee | Published on September 28, 2018

Private equity acquisition activity globally appears headed for a year-over-year drop in both deal count and transaction value in the third quarter.

As of Sept. 27, there were 374 deals worth $94.42 billion during the quarter, according to Dealogic data. For the full third quarter of 2017, there were 458 deals with transaction values totaling $138.47 billion.

Barring a burst of activity heading into the final business day of September, the third quarter of 2018 could end up with one of the lowest deal tallies in any quarter going as far back as 2010, data show.

According to Dealogic, the largest PE acquisition during the quarter through Sept. 27 was the purchase of a 51% stake in Australian road project WestConnex by a group including Transurban and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $6.71 billion. The consortium was named the winning bidder in August.

Other large transactions include Carlyle Group LP‘s (CG) deal, unveiled in September, to buy KKR & Co. LP‘s (KKR) majority stake in insurance claims service provider Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. for $6.7 billion. Stone Point Capital LLC and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, along with Sedgwick‘s management, will continue to hold minority stakes in the business. Carlyle’s investment in Sedgwick will come from Carlyle Partners VII LP and Carlyle Global Financial Services Partners III LP.

In another large deal, an investor group agreed in August to acquire data and analytics firm Dun & Bradstreet Corp. (DNB) for $145 a share, or $5.38 billion. Including the assumption of $1.5 billion of Dun & Bradstreet’s net debt and net pension obligations, the transaction is valued at $6.9 billion. The buyer group is led by CC Capital Management LLC, Cannae Holdings Inc. and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, along with other investors.

This year through Sept. 27, there were 1,276 PE acquisitions with combined deal values of $359.1 billion, according to Dealogic. In the same period last year, there were 1,285 deals worth $327.25 billion.


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