The September slump

Contact: Brenon Daly

It seems September wasn’t just a month to forget for the Boston Red Sox. Tech M&A also had a slump of its own this month. Although the decline in dealmaking wasn’t nearly the historic proportion of the ‘BoSox debacle,’ which saw the team drop 20 of its final 27 games and miss the playoffs, spending on acquisitions in September came in at its lowest monthly tally in 2011.

The aggregate value of all tech deals announced in September totaled just $8.5bn. (And nearly half of that amount came from a single transaction, Broadcom’s $3.9bn all-cash offer for NetLogic Microsystems.) Not only is September the lowest monthly total so far this year, it also represents a decline of one-third from spending in September 2010.

The slowdown in September also reverses the typical seasonal pattern of the third quarter. In recent years, roughly two-thirds of the entire M&A spending in Q3 has taken place in the back half of the quarter. But then, economies around the globe are currently facing more challenges and uncertainties than they have at any point since the Great Recession ended. That could make for a pretty tough finish for M&A in 2011, a year that started out solidly on the road to recovery.

M&A activity, Q3

Period Deal volume Deal value Number of deals valued at $1bn or more
Sept. 2011 279 $8.5bn 1
Aug. 2011 335 $40.2bn 6
July 2011 319 $12.9bn 4

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase