October 21, 2008, 1:12 pm
Posted by Stephen Grocer - DealJournal - WSJ.com
Perhaps you didn’t hear the M&A gong Monday, but global deal volume has passed $3 trillion–the fifth time that has happened though, not surprisingly, it took roughly three months longer than it did last year.
It did so on the backs of the new kings of deal making. No, not Henry Kravis or Stephen Schwarzman or Steve Ballmer or any other titan of industry, for that matter. No, this year’s M&A king makers earn far less, but wield far more power and capital. They are Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke and, across the pond, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.
At a time when the financial crisis is sapping the life out of M&A–$149.1 billion of announced deals have been withdrawn since Sept. 1–the dramatic interventions of the U.S. and British governments have helped propel M&A activity in the financial sector, according to Dealogic.
Government investment in financial institutions has reached $76 billion this year, according to the data. That is almost eight times as much as in all of 2007, the previous high water mark. And this year’s total doesn’t include the planned U.S. investments in nine banks, which will top $120 billion, or the number of deals the federal government had a hand in orchestrating–think J.P. Morgan-Bear Stearns and J.P. Morgan Chase-Washington Mutual.
At the very least, the increased role of governments is representative of numerous issues buffeting the M&A marketplace. With the credit markets and global financial industry both frozen, governments are lenders and buyers of last resort.