BusinessCompany NewsBig firms face shrinking M&A market

Big firms face shrinking M&A market

The failed takeover by BHP Billiton of Rio Tinto signals a deep slump in M &A, spelling a dwindling market for the big firms

When mining giant
BHP
Billiton
withdrew from its hostile acquisition of
Rio Tinto last week, it
was part of a trend of corporate grooms abandoning their would-be wives at the
altar, according to The Economist.

The magazine cites Thomson Reuters research which reveals the total value of
cancelled mergers so far in the December quarter has soared to $322bn (£218bn) –
a two-year high and close to the value of completed mergers in the same period
($362bn).

A UBS study found one-third of deals announced in the USA this year had been
terminated and globally, the value of M&As completed so far in 2008 is down
by 27% on the corresponding period last year, to $2.8tn.

The likelyhood of two other multi-billion dollar deals to be called off is
high – the acquisition of BCE, the Canadian telecom giant, by private-equity
firms is on the brink following ‘preliminary’ comments by its KPMG the company
is insolvent; and big drugs firm Roche’s claim it will complete its $43.7bn
acquisition of Genentech is being met with growing scepticism.

Further reading:

Read
The Economist story

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