M&A Numbers Augur Poorly
Mark Shafir had bad news for the attendees of the Tulane Corporate Law Institute in New Orleans last month. Shafir, the co-head of global M&A at Citigroup Inc. (C), said that M&A volumes could fall 10% this year. That conclusion may be overly optimistic; he also noted that on an annualized basis the deal levels of the last three months reflect a 25% to 27% drop, while the last 10 months’ activity reflect a 17% drop.
First quarter data from Dealogic offers some support for that dour view. The period from Jan. 1 to March 27 saw 193 U.S. deals of $100 million or more worth a total of $470 billion. On an annualized basis, the dollar volume would be the highest since at least 2009, but the number of deals would be the least since 2010 and a 27% drop from last year.
The biggest drop has come in oil and gas, where falling energy prices have caused the deal market to collapse, with only 12 deals of $100 million or more worth a total of $12 billion, numbers well off of even 2009, by the slowest year for oil and gas M&A in the last decade.
The headliner in healthcare is Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.‘s (BMY) agreement to buy Celgene Corp. (CELG), a deal announced Jan. 3 that Dealogic values at $97 billion. As a result of the Celgene deal, first-quarter M&A dollar volume in the sector looks exceptionally robust at $180 billion, but it comes from only 29 deals, which annualized would be a 30% decline from 2018 and the least since 2013.
In real estate, the number of deals is on par with last year even though dollar volume is off by 30%. The situation is the reverse in private equity. Ultimate Software Group Inc.‘s (ULTI) $11 billion agreement to sell to a consortium led by Hellman & Friedman LLC accounts for a third of the $33 billion in buyout activity, but the 15 U.S. PE deals of $100 million or more would be 35% less than in 2018 and the least since 2009.
The one bright spot is technology, where deal volume has fallen only 7% from last year, which was the most active in the last decade, while the dollar volume of activity is close to the record year of 2015.
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