Forget the rebound, many companies see double dip

Contact: Brenon Daly

According to many big tech acquirers, the rest of 2011 is shaping up to look an awful lot like 2009. From forecasts for declining valuations to indications of a dramatically more conservative approach to M&A, there was a bearishness in the responses to our special midyear survey of corporate development executives that hasn’t been seen since we were mired in the Great Recession. (See the full report.)

And while the responses to our most recent survey may not have hit the same lows of two years ago, many views began to approach those gloomy levels. In any case, it was a dramatic reversal from the relatively robust forecast given at the beginning of 2011. Taken altogether, the responses to our most recent survey indicate that there’s a growing concern about a recessionary ‘double dip’ that threatens to stall dealmaking for the rest of the year.

Just one-third (32%) of the corporate development executives we surveyed last month indicated that they expected their company to pick up the pace of M&A in the second half of 2011, down half (52%) from those who predicted an acceleration for full-year 2011 in our survey back in December. Meanwhile, the number who projected a slowdown more than doubled to 18% from 7%. Another way to think about it is that nearly one out of five people told us that their company won’t be as busy in the remainder of the year as it was in the first half of 2011.

Projected change in M&A activity

Period Increase Stay the same Decrease
Mid-2011 for remainder of year 32% 50% 18%
December 2010 for 2011 52% 41% 7%
December 2009 for 2010 68% 27% 5%
December 2008 for 2009 44% 33% 23%

Source: The 451 Group Tech Corporate Development Outlook Survey