Buyout Activity in the U.S. is Down Sharply

Earlier this month, Wall Street Journal writer Miriam Gottfried reported that, “U.S. private-equity firms, armed with a record amount of cash, are struggling to find ways to spend it.

“A year ago, fears of an economic slowdown and worries about trade tensions with China sent a tremor through markets and put some leveraged buyouts on hold. But while stocks rebounded in the new year, buyout activity never fully recovered.

The aggregate value of U.S. buyouts fell 25% year to date through October, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to data provider Preqin. Deals totaled $155.2 billion during the first 10 months of the year—the lowest since 2014.”

The Journal article noted that, “Private-equity firms traditionally seek to buy up companies they see as undervalued, cut costs or spruce them up to spur growth and sell them or take them public a few years later. With U.S. equity markets surging, already expensive takeover candidates have gotten even pricier, making many of them too rich for even the most optimistic private-equity buyer. Meanwhile, would-be corporate acquirers whose stock prices have run up this year can use their shares as a deal currency, giving them an edge over financial buyers in most auction processes.”

“The drop in deal activity comes as private-equity firms’ unspent cash dedicated to North American buyouts reaches a record $771.5 billion, up nearly 24% since the end of last year and more than double where it stood at the end of 2014, Preqin data show,” the Journal article said.

Gottfried added that, “Not all areas of the buyout market have slowed. Globally, deal volume is pacing roughly where it was last year. And certain pockets of the U.S. market remain robust. Firms that invest in business software, for example, have kept up their deal-making pace, thanks in part to the proliferation of targets.”

This entry was posted in Start-up Company Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.