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M&As off to a slow start, deal tally slumps 50 per cent over 2015
February, 16th 2016

The year 2016 started on a rather subdued note for mergers and acquisitions in the country as M&A deal value in January declined by nearly 50 per cent, largely because of lesser big-ticket deals.

According to assurance, tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton, there were 44 M&A transactions worth USD 1.7 billion in January this year as against 48 deals worth USD 3.4 billion in January 2015.

The decline in M&A deal tally was largely because of decreased cross-border activity and fewer big-ticket transactions. January saw only one deal valued above USD 500 million compared with three such deals in January 2015.

The report noted that there were 22 domestic transactions worth USD 364 million while in January 2015, there were 18 such deals totaling USD 110 million.

Cross-border deals trended down in January as there were 18 such deals worth USD 1,269 million as against 29 transactions worth USD 3,312 million in January 2015.

Centerbridge-Suzlon's USD 1,200-million and Herman-Symphony's USD 780-million transactions added to the higher value last year. Other than this, the deal trend seems to be at par with the previous year, Grant Thornton India LLP Partner Prashant Mehra said.

The report, however, said there is a positive deal outlook, largely driven by strong business optimism and key government measures that will help accelerate growth in deal activity in 2016.

Sector-wise, IT and ITeS continues to lead the M&A deal volumes, contributing 45 per cent of total deal volume, while telecom was the largest contributor to deal values with 52 per cent followed by IT and ITeS and hospitality and leisure.

The telecom sector saw the largest deal this month, with Orange SA's acquisition of Bharti Airtel's operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone valued at USD 900 million. This sector contributed around 52 per cent of the total deal value.

The IT & ITeS show is primarily driven by consolidation across startups in the sectors that are acquiring other players for talent and technology, the report said.

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