Are 'green shoots' expected this year?

Author:Vaughn, Tom

In 2007, companies completed more than 12,000 mergers and acquisitions deals globally, with values totaling more than $3.5 trillion; but such volume and dollar records have since been buried under years of bad news. The 2012 Dykema Mergers & Acquisitions Outlook Survey indicates what is pushing expectations to a near-record low is the recession, mortgage meltdown, European debt crisis, aftereffects of the presidential election and the fiscal cliff.

The year 2012 is on pace to be the slowest for M&A since 2009: through the first three quarters of 2012, volume is projected around 5,000 deals, and aggregate valuation is currently estimated at $1.4 trillion.

Not surprisingly, survey respondents expressed many reservations about the year ahead: a solid third predicted a negative U.S. economy and a fifth anticipated a weaker M&A market.

Yet there are glimmers that may point to an eventual return to more robust deal-making markets. This eighth annual survey--which polled respondents from Nov. 7 to Nov. 20, 2012--was designed to measure the perspectives of leading company executives and outside advisers on the direction of the M&A market in the corning year. More than half of the respondents expected to be involved in at least one transaction in the coming year.

More respondents than in the previous year predicted a strengthening of the U.S. economy and a strong U.S. M&A market. M&A may have hit another bottom; there could be headroom in 2013.


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