Canadian Treasurer

October 18, 2012

Trending Down: Volume of Canadian M&A at lowest level since 2009

TORONTO-- The third quarter of 2012 saw 599 announced Canadian M&A transactions worth $58.6 billion. Volumes were down 17% from Q2 2012 and 21% from the same period last year, according to PwC's Q3 Canadian M&A Deals Quarterly.

Conversely, deal values surged 23% over the prior quarter and 16% over Q3 2011. But excluding the $19 billion pending acquisition of Nexen Inc. (Nexen) by China National Offshore Oil Company Limited (CNOOC), deal values would have declined 17% from Q2 2012 and 22% from the same period last year.

"The drop off in activity is attributable to an absence of targets in the market, rather than an absence of demand for deals. Well capitalized corporate and private equity firms continue their hunt for strong middle market tuck under deals," says Nicolas Marcoux, PwC's Canadian Deals Leader.

Inbound transactions, where foreign buyers target Canadian companies surged 235% over Q2 2012 and were up more than 64% compared to a year ago. But according to PWC, the trend was rather misleading as the Nexen/CNOOC transaction accounted for over 62% of all inbound dollar values.  Absent this transaction, foreign acquisitions of Canadian assets would still have registered a respectable 26% quarter over quarter increase, while dropping 38% year over year.

Foreign acquisitions by Canadian entities continued to be strong, totalling $18.9 billion in Q3 2012, a modest decline of 13% compared to Q2 but still 23% ahead of the tally from Q3 2011. On the other hand, domestic M&A activity slumped 47% from Q2 and 50% when compared to the same period last year.

"Inbound and outbound transaction activity continued to be resilient even in the face of a quiet quarter of domestic M&A activity" said Marcoux.

The U.S. replaced Europe as the dominant target for Canadian suitors, with over $13.8 billion or more than 73% of the Canadian outbound acquisition dollars heading south of the border.  Two of the four largest acquisition targets were cable service providers, while real estate and metals & mining remained the two most targeted sectors by volume.

Canadian acquisitions into Europe surged to a post crisis high in Q2 2012, but activity on the continent during the third quarter saw a sharp drop-off as volume and value fell 50% and 83% respectively.

Canadian M&A activity in growth markets exhibited a similar trend to that of Europe as the volume and value of acquisitions fell 35% and 78% respectively.

As expected, the mega deal between Nexen and CNOOC propelled energy to the top of the five most targeted industries in Canadian M&A, unseating real estate from its Q2 perch.

Media made a rare appearance in the top five targeted industries on the strength of CPP Investment Board's consortium purchase of Suddenlink Communications and Cogeco Cable Inc.'s acquisition of Atlantic Broadband.

Largely on the back of a slowing Chinese economy, metals & mining fell from its peak as being the most targeted industry in 2011 to not even appearing as a top targeted industry in the second and third quarters of this year.




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