NYT DealBook, June 23,2010:
Deal-making has been subdued in the first half of the year, partly because of the recent turbulence in the stock market. But mergers and acquisitions are likely to pick up as the year progresses, Ernst & Young forecasts.
“We’re seeing a strong deal pipeline,” Rich Jeanneret, Americas vice chairman for Ernst & Young Transaction Advisory Services, said in the firm’s midyear mergers and acquisitions report. “As we look towards the second half of 2010, we expect to see well-capitalized corporations and private equity firms continuing to put their money to work in select growth markets.”
According to a recent Ernst & Young study of more than 800 senior executives around the world, 57 percent of businesses say they are likely or highly likely to acquire other companies in the next 12 months, almost double that of the 33 percent surveyed in November 2009. The study also found that 47 percent expected to make the move in the next six months, compared with 25 percent when surveyed eight months ago
The deal market will be defined by smaller, higher-quality deals fueled by low interest rates and corporate cash stockpiles, said Steve Krouskos, Americas markets leader for E.&Y.’s Transaction Advisory Services. In addition, Mr. Krouskos believes strong growth prospects in such markets as Brazil and China will lead to a pick-up in deal volume, despite concerns over instability in other developing markets.
The first half of the year started strong but began to fade as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe put some deals on hold. Global M.&A. deal value totaled $810.3 billion so far during the first half of 2010, similar to where it was during the comparable period last year at $814.6 billion. But much of the deals done in the first half of 2009 involved government activity in the banking system. This year, the deals took place across a range of industries, as private equity firms and other companies took advantage of the thawed credit markets and strong equity markets.
Looking towards the second half of 2010, Ernst & Young believes M.&A. activity should continue to grow, as well-capitalized firms seek to expand through mergers and acquisitions and from the strengthening of the credit markets (assuming the economy stabilizes).
Fortune 1,000 companies have a combined $1.8 trillion in cash, a huge stockpile that can be used for acquisitions. Ernst & Young expects companies to seek smaller deals, but “higher quality” transactions, as well-capitalized companies hunt for acquisitions that complement their strengths.
– Cyrus Sanati