Coronavirus Pandemic Drags Global M&A to Lowest Level Since 2012

The value of mergers and acquisitions fell 50% in the first half from the year-earlier period to the lowest level since the depths of the euro-zone debt crisis, as the coronavirus pandemic brought global dealmaking to an abrupt halt.

Coronavirus Pandemic Drags Global M&A to Lowest Level Since 2012

Every region was hit by the economic impact of Covid-19, which gripped markets in March and sparked countrywide lockdowns. This situation has made face-to-face meetings, a lifeblood of M&A, all but impossible. Little more than $1 trillion of deals have been announced this year, making for the slowest first half since 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Coronavirus Pandemic Drags Global M&A to Lowest Level Since 2012

The sharpest fall has been in the Americas, where the value of deals is down 69% in the first half. While every major industry has been hurt, the financial sector fared better than most. It was boosted by insurance brokerage Aon Plc’s $30 billion offer for Willis Towers Watson Plc and Morgan Stanley’s proposed $13 billion acquisition of E*Trade Financial Corp. The top three advisers on deals targeting the Americas so far in 2020 were Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Bloomberg-compiled data show.

Coronavirus Pandemic Drags Global M&A to Lowest Level Since 2012

Deals involving targets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa are down 32%. Large transactions that helped prevent a more dramatic drop include the $19 billion leveraged buyout of Thyssenkrupp AG’s elevator unit by Advent International and Cinven. There was also a recent flurry of activity in the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi’s sale of a $10.1 billion stake in its gas pipeline network that ranks as the biggest infrastructure transaction of the year. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Rothschild & Co. were the busiest advisers on EMEA deals.

Coronavirus Pandemic Drags Global M&A to Lowest Level Since 2012

Asia Pacific has held up better, with overall volumes falling just 7% and most sectors seeing smaller declines than in other parts of the world. The technology, media and telecommunications industry reported a 13% increase, helped by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s digital arm attracting $15 billion of investments from the likes of Facebook Inc. and KKR & Co. Another landmark transaction was Tesco Plc’s sale of Asian businesses to Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont for more than $10 billion. The most active banks on deals in the region were Morgan Stanley, HSBC Holdings Plc and JPMorgan.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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