Corporate M&A activity falls in 2012

Global corporate merger and acquisition (M&A) activity fell in 2012 from the previous year and was the lowest for deal values since 2010, a survey by Mergermarket shows.

The value of deals, at  $US2174.5 billion, was down 2.7% on 2011 but rose 13.3% in the second half. The fourth quarter’s $US672.9 billion-worth of deals was the highest quarter since the corresponding period in 2010 and was up 45.6% on the same period in 2011.

The largest M&A transaction was the $US45.6 billion all-equity takeover of Xstrata by Switzerland-based Glencore International, followed by Japan-based Softbank’s all-cash offer for the US-based Sprint Nextel valued at $US35.5 billion.

Mega-deals in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) were up for a second year to 13% of overall M&A value in the region, the highest level since 2008.

Global bidders looking for Asia-Pacific targets favoured Chinese targets, with 627 deals valued at $US126.7 billion, followed by those in Japan (368 deals worth $US72.5 billion) and Australia (397 deals worth $US46.1 billion). A drop-off in energy and mining deals took its toll on Australian totals.

The bidding war for Singapore conglomerateFraser & Neave was the centre of attention in the region in 2012, with companies from Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan fighting over control.

As a result, Dutch brewer Heineken ended up with F&N’s shareholding in Asia Pacific Breweries, parent company of New Zealand’s DB Breweries.

Private equity buyouts in Asia-Pacific (excl Japan) slid 30.7% on 2011 to $US27.2 billion, the worst year for buyouts in the region since 2009.

Goldman Sachs maintained its place at the top of adviser league tables both globally and in Asia-Pacific,
with Citi and Credit Suisse second and third respectively in Asia Pacific.

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