August is usually a quiet month for mergers and acquisitions. But not this August! As the linked Independent article below states:
Korea National Oil Corporation’s £1.87bn hostile bid for Dana Petroleum yesterday was just the latest in a surge of activity taking merger and acquisition (M&A) levels to a nine-month high.
Despite edgy economic data from the US, global deal-making has already topped $197bn (£127bn) so far this month, and is on course to beat the August record of $260bn set in 2006, according to Thomson Reuters. This week’s $89.8bn total is the highest weekly total since early November.
During the global recession of 2008/9, M&A activity slumped. In 2007, global M&As were worth $4162bn. In 2009 they were worth only $2059bn. Not only were companies cautious of acquiring other companies in a period of great economic uncertainty, but finance for deals was hard to obtain. Now, with many companies having cut costs and having much healthier balance sheets, they are in a position to bid for other companies. And banks too are much more able and willing to provide the finance to support takeovers.
So does this signify a continuing surge in M&A activity? Or are the August figures likely to be a ‘blip’, with fears of a double-dip recession dampening any renewed takeover fever? The articles below look at the recent cases and at the factors influencing current M&A activity.
Stock markets catch deal fever as M&A booms again Independent, Sarah Arnott (21/8/10)
BHP, Intel, RSA shatter usual August M&A lull Reuters, Quentin Webb (20/8/10)
Global M&A volume could be highest in August International Business Times, Surojit Chatterjee (21/8/10)
Mergers and acquisitions mania disrupts bankers’ summer breaks Guardian, Elena Moya (21/8/10)
Merger mania predicted as cash-rich firms stalk takeover targets Observer, Richard Wachman (22/8/10)
M&A Signal Higher Stock Prices Ahead Minyanville, Terry Woo (20/8/10)
From slowest to busiest TodayOnline (21/8/10)
Data and Reports
The era of globalized M&A: Winds of change Thomson Retuers and J.P.Morgan (June 2009)
Preliminary M&A Financial Press Release 2Q10 Thomson Reuters (25/6/10)
World Investment Report 2010: Annex Tables United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) (see tables 9–16)
Mergers and Acquisitions involving UK companies Office for National Statistics
Mergers & Acquisitions data Office for National Statistics
Mergers and acquisitions involving UK companies: 1st Quarter 2010 Office for National Statistics (2/6/10)
Mergers and Acquisitions Tables Office for National Statistics
- Identify the reasons why firms want to take over other firms.
- Why does M&A activity tend to increase during a period of economic boom and decline during a recession?
- What is likely to happen to M&A activity over the coming months?
- Exmamine two recent mergers or acquistions and explain why the acquiring company was keen to take over the other company, or why the two companies were keen to merge. Were there any economies of scale to be gained? Would the merger increase the acquiring company’s market power?
Cadbury is arguably the producer of the best Easter eggs and also one of the best known adverts – who can forget the guerrilla playing the drums! If you think there is no substitute for Cadbury chocolate, then you’ll find this story especially interesting.
In early September, Kraft Foods made a £10.2 billion bid for the maker of Dairy Milk. This was duly rejected by Cadbury, whose Chairman said that the offer ‘fundamentally undervalued’ the business. This initial bid, although rejected, has sparked interest in the corporate world and Cadbury shareholders have seen their shares rise in value by almost 40%, closing at 775.5p on Friday 11th September.
Following this bid, other potential buyers have entered the picture, including Nestlé and Hershey’s. There is also the likelihood that Kraft Foods will make a higher bid, financed through a bridging loan. Despite this interest, Cadbury still wants to remain independent, hoping that its investors will be buoyed by the company’s rising profits in recent months.
Take a look at the following articles that consider these possible take-overs of Cadbury and how the corporate world has been, and will continue to be, affected.
Cadbury snubs £10.2bn Kraft move BBC News (7/0/09)
Hershey’s and Nestlé in running to buy Cadbury Telegraph (10/9/09)
Kraft races to prepare new Cadbury bid Guardian (9/9/09)
Return of the Deal? BBC News (7/9/09)
Hershey considers Cadbury counterbid Times Online (9/9/09)
Cadbury spurns ‘low growth’ Kraft BBC News (13/9/09)
Long Cadbury shares? Cash out! Khaleej Times Online (United Arab Emirates) (14/9/09)
Hedge fund Eton Park stakes £180m on Cadbury bid Telegraph (10/9/09)
Cadbury vision is to stay single Financial Times (11/9/09)
- In the 13th September BBC News article, an extract from a letter to the Kraft Chief Executive from the Chairman of Cadbury stated that under Kraft’s offer “Cadbury would be absorbed into Kraft’s low growth, conglomerate business model, an unappealing prospect.” What does he mean by a ‘conglomerate business model?’
- Eton Park has bought £180 million worth of shares. In what ways do you think this will affect the future of Cadbury? Is Cadbury more or less likely to sell now?
- How would you explain the rise in Cadbury’s share price when it looked as though the company might be taken over?
- Cadbury’s Chief Executive hopes that investors will continue to support the company given the positive profit margin growth. What does this actually mean?
- If the take-over were to go ahead, what do you think would be the impact on the (a) the Cadbury factory in Birmingham; (b) Cadbury’s workers; (c) Cadbury’s shareholders; and (d) the price of Cadbury chocolate?
The world experienced a large increase in merger activity from 2003 to 2007. The merger boom came to an end, however, in 2007/8 with the credit crunch and the ensuing recession. For example, the value of acqusitions of UK companies by overseas companies fell from £82.1 billion in 2007 to £52.6 billion in 2008, while the value of acquisitions of overseas companies by UK companies fell from £57.8 billion in 2007 to £29.7 billion in 2008 (see Mergers & Acquisitions data (National Statistics)). The decline continued in the first part of 2009.
Recent evidence, however, suggests that the beginnings of recovery in the world economy, a greater availability of credit and a substatial rise in share prices since March (see for example the FTSE 100 and Dow Jones indices) are leading to a new wave of mergers. Recent weeks have seen, amongst others, the takeover of Marvel Entertainment by Disney (see Disney is ‘Marvel’lous), the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Orange, and Kraft’s bid for Cadbury (see Cadbury: Chocolate All Change). So what has stimulated this new merger wave? How do mergers relate to the business cycle and to the stock market? Should they be welcomed? The following articles look at some recent mergers and at the issues they raise.
The return of the deal The Economist (10/9/09)
The revival of M&A is better than a poke in the eye Guardian (8/9/09)
Hovering Kraft The Economist (7/9/09)
Orange and T-Mobile to create UK’s largest mobile phone company Guardian (8/9/09)
Watchdog urged to investigate T-Mobile and Orange merger Guardian (8/9/09)
- Why has there been a recent rise in M&A activity? Discuss whether the revival in activity is likely to continue.
- Discuss whether an increase in M&A activity is ‘better than a poke in the eye’?
- To what extent will mobile phone users in the UK benefit or lose from a merger between Orange and T-Mobile?
- Will Cadbury’s consumers and workers benefit from a takeover by Kraft?