Papa John's, Nielsen Are Top Takeover Targets for 2019 in M&A Survey

(Bloomberg) -- Nielsen Holdings Plc, Papa John’s International Inc. and Mellanox Technologies Ltd. were named as the most likely takeover candidates in the U.S. next year in a Bloomberg News survey of 20 M&A/event-driven trading desks, analysts and fund managers.

Five survey respondents included those three companies in their takeover projections during polling over the past week. Arconic Inc. and Bunge Ltd. were next with four mentions, followed by Axalta Coating Systems Ltd., Caesars Entertainment Corp., CBS Corp., Clovis Oncology Inc., Jack in the Box Inc. and Zynga Inc. with three mentions each. Barnes & Noble Inc., Tribune Publishing Co., International Speedway Corp., Columbia Property Trust Inc. and Magellan Health Inc. had two mentions each.

“We’ve got a number of clients who are considering meaningful transactions,”
Gary Posternack, head of Global M&A at Barclays Plc, said in interview. “Deals that are strategically important are getting done.”

There’s likely to be M&A activity in the technology, health care and industrial sectors in 2019, Larry Hamdan, head of Americas M&A at Barclays, said in an interview. Within technology, the software sector is expected to see a lot of activity. He also expects to see more private equity deals after a flurry of deals in 2018.

“Sponsors are looking at larger and larger targets,” Hamdan said. “There is a lot of dry firepower on the sidelines. Assuming some stabilization in the high yield market, we have the potential to see some sizable LBOs over the course of 2019.”

Other companies in the survey responses included: Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., Allergan Plc, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, Mylan NV, Humana Inc., XPO Logistics Inc., FireEye Inc., Kohl’s Corp., Ashland Global Holdings., Viacom Inc., Esperion Therapeutics Inc., Symantec Corp., Perrigo Co., Charter Communications Inc., Nutanix Inc., Hain Celestial Group Inc., Williams-Sonoma Inc., Conduent Inc., Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group Inc., Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc., Incyte Corp., Micron Technology Inc., Etsy Inc., Zayo Group Holdings Inc., ServiceNow Inc., Zendesk Inc., Akamai Technologies Inc., Acadia Healthcare Co., Bluebird Bio Inc., American Equity Investment Life Holding Co., Endurance International Group Holdings Inc., Investors Bancorp Inc., Oasis Petroleum Inc., Bottomline Technologies Inc., El Paso Electric Co., Provident Service Corp., Reading International Inc., Mack-Cali Realty Corp., MedEquities Realty Trust Inc., Mitek Systems Inc., Inseego Corp., Liberty Tax Inc., Salesforce.com Inc., and Veritone Inc.

Many of the names mentioned in the survey have been reported to be targets and some companies have said they are examining options. The survey was conducted Dec. 14 through Dec. 20.

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