Third-quarter M&A: Forget the headlines

Contact: Brenon Daly

To get an accurate read on M&A this summer, you have to look past the headlines. Undeniably, there were a few high-profile deals, including the sale of McAfee in the largest deal ever in the security industry, as well as a high-profile bidding war that pushed 3PAR’s valuation into the double digits. Beyond those transactions, however, deal flow in the third quarter, which wraps today, has been distinctly average. Spending is coming in at $46bn, only slightly above the average spending of $40bn in the eight quarters since the Credit Crisis erupted.

The $46bn also sits at the midway point of spending in the first two quarters of the year ($30bn in Q1 2010 and $62bn in Q2 2010). It also nearly splits the difference between the previous year’s quarter ($38bn in spending in Q3 2009) and the previous quarter this year ($62bn in spending in Q2 2010). We’ll look at why the value of deals announced in late summer dropped one-quarter from the record level in early summer in a special report tonight, but for now consider this: Of the five largest transactions so far in 2010, just one was announced in the third quarter. Again, we’ll have a full report on Q3 M&A in tonight’s Daily 451 and 451 TechDealmaker sendouts.