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U.S. M&A deal activity down 5.7%, private equity activity up 10.1% in February

Mar 24, 2015

Via FactSet Mergers staff

U.S. M&A deal activity decreased in February, going down by 5.7% with 938 announcements compared to 995 in January. However, aggregate M&A spending increased. In February 45.8% more was spent on deals compared to January.

Over the past three months, the sectors that have seen the biggest increases in M&A deal activity, relative to the same three month period one year ago, have been Technology Services (501 vs. 403), Finance (386 vs. 342), Consumer Services (250 vs. 218), Non-Energy Minerals (55 vs. 40), and Retail Trade (96 vs. 84). Twelve of the 21 sectors tracked by FactSet Mergers posted relative gains in deal flow over the last three months compared to the same three months one year prior. 

Over the past three months, the sectors that have seen the biggest declines in M&A deal volume, relative to the same three month period one year ago have been Industrial Services (99 vs. 136), Health Technology (92 vs. 109), Electronic Technology (117 vs. 133), Health Services (128 vs. 144), and Distribution Services (130 vs. 141). Nine of the 21 sectors tracked by FactSet Merger posted negative relative losses in deal flow over the last three months compared to the same three months one year prior, for a combined loss of 106 deals.

Topping the list of the largest deals announced in February are: Pfizer, Inc.'s agreement to acquire Hospira, Inc. for $15.4 billion; Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.'s deal to acquire Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd for $11.1 billion; Frontier Communications Corp. agreeing to acquire Verizon Communications Inc's wireline operations in California, Florida and Texas for $9.9 billion; Ball Corp.'s agreement to acquire Rexam Plc for $6.8 billion; Staples, Inc.'s deal to acquire Office Depot, Inc. for $6.2 billion.

U.S. private equity activity increased in February, up 10.1% from January. There were 98 deals in February compared to 89 in January. However, aggregate base equity decreased, down by 69.9% to $4.8 billion from January's $16.0 billion.

Canadian firms were the biggest buyers of U.S. companies in February. They announced 23 deals for the month, with U.K. companies in second with 20 deals, followed by Japan, Germany and France. The largest deal to purchase a U.S. business was Canada-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.'s deal to acquire Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd for $11.1 billion. U.K. firms were the biggest sellers to U.S. firms with 37 deals, followed by the Canada, Germany, Australia and France. The largest U.S. deal to acquire a foreign company was Ball Corp.'s agreement to acquire UK-based Rexam Plc for $6.8 billion.

The top financial advisors for 2015 based on deal announcements, are: Goldman Sachs & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Plc, and Houlihan Lokey. The top five financial advisors, based on the aggregate transaction value of the deals worked on, are: JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs & Co., and Lazard.

The top legal advisors for 2015 based on deal announcements, are: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Jones Day LP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Fenwick & West LLP, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. The top five legal advisors, based on the aggregate transaction value of the deals worked on, are: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

FactSet Flashwire Monthly Report

Download the full report for more, including:

  • Key trend information for the Overall and Middle M&A Markets, such as deal volume, deal value, mega-deals, leading buyers, leading industries, leading sectors, cross-border deals, U.S. regional deals, average P/E, average premiums, payment methods, and much more
  • Industry reports on the Internet, Telecommunications, Healthcare, Banking, and much more
  • Special reports on technology, the public and private M&A markets, cancellation fees, industry activity, etc.
  • Leading financial and legal advisor rankings
Download FactSet U.S. Flashwire Monthly.
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