Taking Stock: M&A Slump... CEOs Upbeat...

Global mergers-and-acquisitions activity fell as the economic downturn worsened in the first half of 2009.

M&A SLUMP: Global mergers-and-acquisitions activity fell as the economic downturn worsened in the first half of 2009. Data compiled by the research firm Mergermarket showed total deal volume was down 47.4 percent to 3,800 transactions, compared with the year-ago period, and the value of M&A activity dropped 43.6 percent to $705.7 billion. Deal volume decreased 51.6 percent from the peak of 7,880 transactions during the first half of 2007, as total value fell 66 percent from almost $2 trillion. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, deal volumes have remained steady through 2009, suggesting the number of M&A transactions may have bottomed out, Mergermarket said. Consumer category deals, including those for retailers, accounted for 14.4 percent of transactions during the first half, but only 5.6 percent based on value. The biggest slump was in the upper end of the mid-market level, or deals between $250 million and $500 million. While the U.S. recorded a 9.6 percent slip in large-cap transactions (worth more than $500 million) by value, six of the 10 largest deals involved U.S. targets, the biggest of which was Pfizer’s January acquisition of Wyeth, at $64 billion, according to Mergermarket. At the lower mid-market tier, deals between $10 million and $250 million accounted for an average of 37.1 percent of North American M&A activity and 34.9 percent of European transactions from 2008 to the first half of 2009. This segment continues to account for more than 55 percent of overall M&A activity in the Asia-Pacific region. Large private-equity deal flow remains nonexistent in 2009. — VICKI M. YOUNG

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