Corporate dealmaking

Contact: Brenon Daly

Since our annual survey of corporate development executives is currently being filled out by those dealmakers, we thought we’d take a quick look at business there. (Note: If you are a corporate development officer and would like to take part in our survey, please email me and I will send you a copy. Those who participate will get a full look at the results, plus additional comparisons with the previous year’s findings. See that report here.)

At first glance, corporate spending looks pretty healthy, roughly matching the levels of the previous three years. (For our purposes, we searched our M&A KnowledgeBase for acquisitions announced this year by companies that trade on the Nasdaq or NYSE.) Our first observation is that US companies are pretty much the only ones doing any shopping. Their spending accounts for three-quarters of all tech M&A spending that we’ve tracked this year, compared to about half of the total in each of the past two years.

However, we would quickly add that (not surprisingly) deal flow has been drying up as the year has gone along. In the third quarter, the total value of acquisitions by US publicly traded acquirers hit just $16bn, down from $144bn in the second quarter and $38bn in the first quarter (second-quarter results were inflated because the four largest deals of the year, including three mammoth communications transactions, were announced in the summer). In the next week, we’ll tally what corporate development executives predict for 2009 and have a report on that.

Acquisitions by US listed companies

Period Deal volume Deal value
January-November 2005 945 $204bn
January-November 2006 1,084 $251bn
January-November 2007 961 $193bn
January-November 2008 793 $218bn

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase