It certainly seemed like a busy year for mergers and acquisitions stateside, but a new report from MergerMarket indicates deal activity in the Technology, Media, and Telecom (TMT) sector actually dipped slightly in 2016.
According to the report, the TMT segment completed 3,021 deals worth $698.2 billion last year. But while that might seem like a lot, MergerMarket noted those totals were down 5.7 percent (deal count) and 4.5 percent (in value), respectively, from 2015’s record 3,203 deals worth $730.8 billion.
The United States led the world with 1,101 deals worth $362.7 billion, topping its 2015 record by 41 deals. MergerMarket observed activity increased ahead of the November presidential election, as companies sought to lock in agreements before a winner was announced. Post-election, MergerMarket reported “Donald Trump’s surprise Presidential victory spurred the markets, with dealmakers hopeful that a more business-friendly climate will encourage M&A.”
Europe came in with the second highest deal activity total, clocking 992 deals worth $168.6 billion.
Some of the largest deals of the year announced stateside included AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner – which was the “largest transaction targeting any sector globally in 2016” – Qualcomm’s purchase of NXP Semiconductors, and CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3, according to data in the report. Both the AT&T and CenturyLink deals were announced the month before the election, the report observed.
Despite these deals, activity in the telecom sub-sector globally dropped from 205 deals worth $232.5 billion in 2015 to just 175 deals worth $99 billion in 2016. That represented a drop in value of more than 57 percent and was the sub-sector’s lowest deal value since 2009, the report indicated.
TMT more broadly accounted for 21.4 percent of global merger and acquisition activity, up from 18.5 percent last year. That share was the sector’s second highest on Mergermarket record (since 2001) after 2013 (22.4 percent).
Looking into 2017, MergerMarket noted “Despite question marks hanging over Trump’s commitment to research and development in technology, his professed disdain for regulation is expected to unlock the potential for more mega-deals. Much will depend on how the AT&T/ Time Warner deal overcomes regulatory hurdles.”