Companies buying early and often in 2010

Contact: Brenon Daly

Maybe it was just working through the backlog of deals from the holiday break, but M&A has started strongly in 2010. We previously noted that a number of big tech buyers have already announced deals this year. (The list of acquirers in the first workweek of January includes EMC, Oracle, Cisco Systems and Apple, among others.) Overall, we tallied 85 transactions in the first week back at our desks, a stunning 60% increase over the first workweek of 2009.

Granted, making projections from a single week is a bit dubious because of the small sample size. Yet while it may not be unerringly precise, it will likely prove directionally accurate. Consider how M&A played out in 2009. In the first week of January, we counted just 53 transactions, giving a projected total for the year of 2,756 deals. That turned out not to be too far off the actual total for 2009 of 3,005 transactions.

If we make the same calculation based on the 85 deals that we counted in the first workweek of this year, we get a projected total of 4,420. That will likely prove too high for the year since it would substantially eclipse the record activity we saw in the boom year of 2006, when there were a lot more buyers at the table. Still, the busy start to 2010 does appear to indicate that this year will be more active than last year. If you are interested in our full outlook for M&A in 2010, join us on our webinar tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. PST/1:00 p.m. EST. To register, click here.