NERVOUS companies have held off from buying up or merging with rivals so far this year, with global activity down by almost half on a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters’ latest figures.
The market is particularly subdued in Europe, where the value of announced M&A deals has slumped to its lowest quarterly level by value since 2009, and by volume since 2004.
Worldwide M&A totaled $416bn in the first three months of the year, down 44 per cent on last year and a slide of 27 per cent on the previous quarter.
JP Morgan has been involved in ongoing and completed deals worth $107bn in the year to date, allowing the American bank to clinch the top spot for global M&A work.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch suffered the biggest drop in the top ten rankings, falling from third to tenth in the world, and from first down to third in the US.
A handful of huge deals, including Glencore’s $56bn double whammy, helped Goldman Sachs take second place in the world with deals worth $103.7bn.
Goldman is also the top takeover bank in Europe, working on 29 deals worth $78bn in the year to date.
The material and energy sectors are propelling the bulk of M&A activity, making up 23 per cent of all deals thanks in part to Glencore. However, the total value of deals announced was still down one per cent on last year.
While deals in emerging markets have also tailed off, the drop of 18 per cent was less stark than in the developed world. Companies in China, Russia and Brazil are still dealmaking.