It looks like M&A activity might finally be slowing down. According to a December 22nd report from research firm FactSet Insight, U.S. M&A deal activity slipped in November for the first time in several months, with deal volume down by 11.9% (956 announcements compared to 1,085 in October). Of note, aggregate M&A spending was up in November with 109.5% more spent on deals relative to October.
M&A activity by sector
The sectors witnessing the largest increases in M&A deal activity this quarter, relative to the same three month period a year ago are Technology Services (492 vs. 369), Finance (412 vs. 318), Commercial Services (495 vs. 420), Industrial Services (136 vs. 87) and Consumer Services (244 vs. 199). Of interest, 16 of the 21 sectors followed by FactSet Mergerstat posted relative gains in quarterly deal flow on a year over year basis.
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The sectors witnessing the largest declines in M&A deal volume, relative to the same three month period a year ago are Non-Energy Minerals (38 vs. 48), Electronic Technology (114 vs. 121), Communications (35 vs. 41), Transportation (55 vs. 60) and Miscellaneous (6 vs. 7). Just five of the 21 sectors followed by FactSet Mergerstat posted negative relative losses in quarterly deal flow year over year, resulting in a combined loss of 29 deals.
Biggest deals in November
The biggest deals in November included Actavis entering an agreement to acquire Allergan for $67.4 billion; Halliburton Co.’s deal to acquire Baker Hughes, Inc. for $34.9 billion; Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings acquisition of Covance, Inc. for $5.9 billion; Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. acquiring Duracell International, Inc. from Procter & Gamble Co. to buy back P&G shares held by Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. valued at $4.7 billion; Cargill Inc and Permira Advisers LLP offering to acquire Nutreco NV for $3.7 billion.
Canadian companies active in U.S.
Somewhat surprisingly, Canadian firms bought the most U.S. companies in November. Firms based in Canada announced 32 deals during the month, with UK companies in second place with 20 deals, then Germany, Japan and France. The biggest deal acquiring a U.S. business was Irish Actavis Plc entering an agreement to acquire Allergan, Inc. for $67.4 billion. Canadian companies were also the biggest sellers to U.S. businesses with 35 deals, with the UK and Germany in second and third. Cargill Inc and Permira Advisers LLP snapping up Dutch Nutreco NV for $3.7 billion was the largest U.S. acquisition of the month.