WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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M&A on my mind

We're in the midst of our annual M&A roundup, and as always there will be a few surprises.

Our panel of experts were tougher this year on what they considered a Big Deal for 2007. I'm going to save the Top 10 deals for when the issue comes out, but I think you'll notice a couple deals that didn't make the cut.

We're listing about 98 acquisitions closed in 2007. In 2006, the number was 84; 2005 it was 100, and in 2004, the first year we ask Houlihan Lokey to collect all the deals, the number was 106.

That's 388 transactions. Wow. Many of the drivers behind these deals have stayed consistent through the years - publicly traded buyers have Wall Street demands to meet; the fastest growing markets are the hardest to break into (so it is quicker to buy than build), a large number of small and mid-sized companies that have to sell to continue growing.

Of the 98 deals last year, there were 65 buyers, with 18 buyers making two or more deals. Last year, there were only 11 multiple buyers.

We haven't finished the research yet, but it looks like there are at least 10 buyers who are backed by private equity groups. A couple, such as Veritas Capital and the Carlyle Group, are familiar names, but newcomers include DC Capital Partners, Leonard Green and Partners and Roark Capital.

The issue comes out Feb. 25, so I better get back to work.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 12, 2008 at 9:55 AM

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