Global mergers and acquisitions slumped this quarter to a level not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis amid increasing concern the economic recovery is deteriorating.
Companies have announced $446 billion of takeovers since June 30, the smallest amount since the third quarter of 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chinese state-run oil company Cnooc’s proposed purchase of Nexen Inc. was the only transaction to top $10 billion in the period, the data show. Acquisitions are now on pace to drop 15 percent in 2012 to $2 trillion, the lowest in three years.
Cross-border takeovers have accounted for about half of all announced deals this year, a trend that may continue with European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. in talks to combine with BAE Systems Plc. Still, while chief executive officers worldwide are sitting on at least $3.4 trillion in cash, many remain reluctant to pursue deals as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis drags on and signs grow that China’s economy is slowing.
This quarter’s slowdown has been most pronounced in Europe, where takeovers accounted for about $92 billion, or 21 percent, of global activity, the continent’s lowest share since 2010. The Americas accounted for $248 billion of transactions, and there were $104.5 billion in the Asia-Pacific region.