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Here are the world’s 10 largest M&A deals this year

Chevron on Friday agreed to acquire Anadarko Petroleum in a transaction valued at $47.5 billion, including equity and debt. Under the agreement, Chevron will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Anadarko for $65 a share — a 37% premium to Thursday’s closing price. Anadarko shareholders will receive a mixture of cash and stock.

Chevron is the second-largest US energy company behind Exxon Mobil and the transaction will expand the company’s capabilities in US shale oil and gas production. Many industry commentators have indicated consolidation in the fragmented sector is overdue, prompting speculation of further deal activity.

This year, 108 deals with a value of over $600 billion have been announced. North America was the most active region, however, Saudi Aramco’s $61.9 billion purchase of Saudi Basic Industries was a notable transaction outside the region. Energy deals so far this year have topped $110 billion, including both the Anadarko and the Saudi Basic Industries transactions.

Here are 10 of the largest M&A deals so far this year in ascending order of their valuation size:

Ultimate Software/Hellman & Friedman

Sector: High technology

Target name: Ultimate Software

Target nation: United States

Acquirer name: An investor group led by Hellman & Friedman

Acquirer nation: United States

Deal value net debt: $10.4 billion

Date Announced: February 4, 2019


Newmont Mining/Goldcorp

Sector: Materials

Target name: Goldcorp

Target nation: Canada

Acquirer name: Newmont Mining

Acquirer nation: United States

Deal value net debt: $12.5 billion

Date Announced: January 14



Sector: Healthcare

Target name: Wellcare

Target nation: United States

Acquirer name: Centene

Acquirer nation: United States

Deal value net debt: $13.5 billion

Date Announced: March 27


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Print M&A activity shows no sign of abating

While mergers and acquisitions are nothing new in print, the latest PrintWeek Top 500 found that there were at least 77 deals involving UK printers between March 2018 and March 2019 – the busiest period in M&A activity in recent years.

And things have not slowed down since, with deals involving companies big and small still happening in nearly every corner of the industry.

Among those finalised in the past month alone include DG3’s purchase of Newnorth, Bell & Bain’s merger via acquisition of J Thomson Colour Printers, and Positive ID Labels’ double buy of Banbury Labels and Dabbon Labels.

Suppliers have also seen their fair share of action, with Japan Pulp and Paper’s acquisition earlier this month of Premier Paper Group heading up the recent moves on that front.

Hopefully all these deals will prove successful, but acquisitions can, and do, go wrong for companies that cannot financially or strategically support their ambitions or, indeed, for a myriad of other reasons.

“Acquisitions can make sense, but be wary and be very clear why it’s advantageous to your business,” warns BPIF chief executive Charles Jarrold.

“Similarly, be sure to understand the business and do your due diligence on the acquisition before finding out late in the day that things are not what you expected. I used to work for a big US company who used the term ‘deal zeal’ – the buzz of getting caught up in an exciting acquisition can impede clear judgement.”

But acquisitions are nevertheless very popular in print as the industry continues to consolidate to ease overcapacity and increasing labour and raw materials costs.

They are also far and away the most popular form of M&A activity, with true 50/50 mergers proving incredibly rare in print, the only one listed in the latest Top 500 being Bright-source’s merger with Signal, which was already its sister company to begin with.

Many acquisitions, however, are promoted as being a merger via branding, communications with clients and PR.

“Mergers ae often billed as 50/50, but the reality is that this is rare in practice,” says Jarrold.

“There isn’t room to duplicate all functions, so one team or another, or one person or another, need to lead and businesses need clear structures and management processes. There is however room for making sure that the best of each business wins through – probably not 50/50, but a dispassionate look at what’s best.”

Richmond Capital Partners director Kevin Barron says true 50/50 mergers are often a “needs must deal” that happens when two companies that cannot afford to buy each other join forces to eliminate excess capacity.

“Generally you would start a new company that acquires the two companies, then at some point there is a rationalisation that goes on but that generally takes six to 12 months to work its way through, because you can’t merge companies in five minutes.

“So you end up with duplication for a while. We knew of one company who didn’t rationalise quickly enough and ended up with four finance directors.

“And egos can get in the way with 50/50 mergers – ‘my business is better than yours’.”


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Hospital megamergers continue to drive near-historic M&A activity

Health system megamergers continue to push deal activity to near-historic levels, evidenced by the fact that the amount of revenue tied up in such deals was nearly four times higher in the second quarter of 2019 compared with the prior-year period.

That’s according to Kaufman Hall’s latest healthcare M&A report, which tallied $11.3 billion in total transacted revenue in the recently ended quarter. That also approaches 2017’s historically high figure of $12.6 billion in the second quarter, the report said.

Despite the eye-popping revenue figures, the number of hospital and health system transactions—19—wasn’t far from the 21 transactions announced in the prior-year period. The 46 transactions announced so far this year closely track the 50 announced at the halfway point of 2018, Kaufman Hall found.

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The market’s showing sparks of life with recent mergers, acquisitions

While Main Street investors had some trepidation over their portfolios during the six-week-long pullback in the stock market, the pros see many positives.

Sell-offs are a common corrective action, which is needed in order to move higher.

The fact is, the stock market just rallied 1,200 points in the first two weeks of June. Much of that is due to the Federal Reserve admitting it went too far in raising rates.

Another positive sign is the quality of the current initial public offerings, and the volume of mergers and acquisitions.

There are some very good indications that this bull market may not be as fragile as the pessimists say.

The IPO market has been strong, with 14 offerings this year — up more than 50 percent from last year. And these aren’t hope-and-a-prayer companies, as in the dot-com era.

Today’s IPOs are coming out — in some cases — with billions in revenues and well-established business models in high-growth areas.

Sure, some are better than others in terms of stock performance. The biggest ones, Uber and Lyft, both got a flat reception and remain underwater from their IPO price. Their issues were valuation and offering size. But they are each credible, established businesses.

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UK M&A value soars by more than a quarter in 2018 as number of mega-deals increases

Deal activity reached a three year high in 2018, while M&A activity involving UK firms hit £359.9bn which is 28 per cent more than the value recorded in 2017, according to data from Refinitiv.

Activity spiked in the first half of the year, with eight deals valued at over £5bn announced in the first six months of 2018 and two revealed in the second half. The largest acquisition of the year was Comcast’s £37bn offer for Sky.

A total of 71 mergers and acquisitions involving a British company and valued at £1bn or more were announced last year, which is the highest number in 17 years.

“M&A activity involving UK companies increased 28 per cent last year. The growth, driven by flurry of mega deals during the first half of the year, saw deal activity reach a 3-year high and a level only exceeded once in the last decade,” said Lucille Jones, deals intelligence analyst at Refinitiv.


“The last six months of 2018 saw a marked slowdown in dealmaking from the pace seen at the start of the year. Whether political uncertainty dampens corporate confidence and affects deal making into 2019 remains to be seen.”

The UK was the third most targeted country by value after the US and China and UK firms were the fourth most acquisitive globally in 2018, after the US, China and Japan.

CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: “2018 saw some major deals, but now as global stock markets are off their highs, and there are some concerns about global growth, 2019 is likely to start off on a softer note.

“The landscape has changed greatly in the past 12 months as political uncertainty in Italy, strained trade relations between the US and China, Brexit, and the odd whisper about a possible recession in the US, have dampened the previously bullish sentiment.

“Many deals are paid for with debt, and companies might be cautious about loading up on debt for fear we are heading into economically cooler times.”


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