An early frost chills tech M&A in October

Contact: Brenon Daly

After a rip-roaring summer that pushed tech M&A spending totals back to their highest levels since the end of the recession, an early frost chilled dealmaking in October. The aggregate value for tech, media and telecom transactions announced across the globe last month dropped to $11.2bn, just half the monthly average of 2013. Further, continuing the yearlong trend, the number of announced deals in October ticked lower, too.

The drop-off in spending in the just-completed month is even sharper when compared with October 2012. Last October saw an unusually large number of transactions valued at $1bn or more. The six mega-deals helped to boost spending in October 2012 to $32.7bn, three times higher than the spending this October. In comparison, last month we recorded only one transaction valued at more than $1bn. Somewhat unusually, the buyer in the largest acquisition in both last October and this October was the same: SoftBank. However, the Japanese telco dropped almost $20bn more on its deal last year (Sprint Nextel) than this year (Supercell).

Perhaps more of a concern than tech M&A spending, which is inherently lumpy, is the uninterrupted slide in deal volume. Once again, the number of announced transactions in October declined from the same month last year. That means that deal flow has dropped in every month so far in 2013. The net result: tech buyers have printed more than 400 – or almost 15% – fewer transactions so far this year than last year. In fact, the number of announced deals is tracking only slightly above the number announced in the recession year of 2009.

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