Big Blue shops across the pond

Despite a lingering cold front in transatlantic M&A, IBM recently announced plan to shell out $340m for ILOG. We noted in a mid-year report that spending by North American acquirers of EU-based targets has declined by roughly two-thirds from mid-2007 to mid-2008 compared to mid-2006 to mid-2007. The reason: the slumping dollar and grinding bear market that has cut the value of acquisition currencies for U.S. companies. (Both the greenback and the Nasdaq have lost about 15% of their value over the past year.)

Big Blue’s purchase of the Paris-based vendor of business rules engine technology isn’t likely to signal a rebound in ‘eastbound’ M&A, at least not a significant one. My colleague Adam Phipps notes the IBM-ILOG deal isn’t even among the Top 10 transactions, when ranked by deal size. The proposed combination comes in twelfth place in terms of purchases made by North American companies of EU-based companies over the past year.