US M&A Deals Slip, Private Equity Activity Up In February

US M&A Deals Slip, Private Equity Activity Up In February

A March 24th report from FactSet Insight highlights that U.S. M&A activity was down slightly in the month of February (compared to January), while private equity deals were up more than 10%.

Details on February US M&A activity

The FactSet report notes that M&A deal activity skipped in February, decreasing by 5.7% to just 938 deal announcements compared to 995 last month.Of note, aggregate M&A spending actually shot up by 45.8% despite the drop in number of deals.

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During the last quarter, the sectors that have seen the largest move up in M&A deal activity relative to year ago quarter, are 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). Of interest, twelve of the 21 sectors reported relative gains in deal flow over during the last quarter compared to the year-ago quarter.

The sectors that saw the highest drop off in M&A deals over the last three months compared to the year ago quarter 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 reported negative relative losses in deal flow over the quarter relative to the year-ago quarter, for a total of 106 fewer deals.

M&A Private Equity

Largest deals of the month

The biggest deals in the month of February included Pfizer’s acquisition of medical supply maker Hospira for around $15.4 billion, Valeant Pharmaceuticals’s deal to acquire Salix Pharmaceuticals for just over $11.1 billion, Frontier Communications agreeing to acquire all of Verizon Communications’s wireline operations in California, Florida and Texas for close to $9.9 billion, Ball Corp.’s agreement to acquire Rexam for $6.8 billion and Staples’s deal to acquire rival Office Depot for at least $6.2 billion.

February private equity activity

M&A Private Equity

The FactSet report also noted that U.S. private equity activity was up 10.1% from January, and there were 98 PE deals in February relative to 89 in January. Of note,  aggregate base equity was down by 69.9% to $4.8 billion from $16.0 billion the month before.

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