Q1 Is (Almost) Done — And It Sucked

Why wait until tomorrow to examine Q1 deal data, when we can be premature and look today? Daddy Thomson sent over a nifty M&A and private equity spreadsheet, which you can download here: M&A Data.xls.

For those allergic to spreadsheets, the short story is that it was a short story. The global M&A market only generated $715 billion worth of deals, which was its lowest tally in over two years. Things were particularly grim in the U.S. market, where aggregate deal value was off 51.6% from Q1 2007. Things were a better overseas, where Asia dipped 18.4% and Europe fell by less than a single percentage point. 

Those figures include private equity-sponsored deals, which really proved to be a drag. The first quarter saw just over $62 billion in disclosed value for 796 deals, which was off 70.6% from Q1 2007. U.S. figures were down more than 85%, and represented their lowest mark since Q4 2003. Asian PE deal volume was actually up 24.8% from the prior year, while European PE was down 64.2 percent.

Expect all of the Q1 figures to be revised upward a bit, based on whatever happens today. For example, Pernod Ricard agreed to buy the parent company of Absolut vodka for nearly $9 billion, and Gores Group is part of a consortium that agreed to take Gilat Satellite private. But neither will change the overall trend, which is sharply downward.

*** I also did a quick preliminary run of venture capital activity, which showed a very slow first quarter as well… But those numbers also are likely to be revised upwards as new MoneyTree surveys are submitted. Expect final numbers in a few weeks.