PwC: Q2 retail merger activity jumps

New York - U.S. retail and consumer merger & acquisition (M&A) activity during second quarter 2014 was driven by eight multibillion dollar transactions, anchored by the food and beverage (including alcohol and retailing) sectors, exceeding year-over-year deal value by 104% and volume by 52%.

According to PwC's U.S. retail and consumer deals insights second quarter 2014 report, for the three month period ending June 30, 2014, there were a total of 50 deals in the retail and consumer sector with disclosed values greater than $50 million, accounting for $37.4 billion in total deal value.

Deal value and volume rose comparatively year-to-date, with a 20% increase in value and 32% increase in volume from the first half of 2013. Sequentially, deal value was down 5% from $39.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014, while deal volume rose 25%.

IPO activity represented one of the strongest quarters the sector has seen in the last three years (second only to fourth quarter 2013), in both volume and value with 13 offerings priced for total proceeds of $4.9 billion. This accounted for a significant increase comparatively and sequentially, with a 117% increase in volume from both second quarter 2013 and first quarter 2014, and a 136% and 217% increase in proceeds year-over-year and over first quarter 2014, respectively. In terms of broader IPO markets, the retail and consumer sector rebounded from its first quarter 2014 performance as the second highest performing sector in second quarter proceeds (behind technology) and third highest in second quarter volume (behind technology and healthcare). As a result, the retail and consumer IPO market in 2014 is now on pace to beat the strong performance seen in 2013.  

PwC's analysis notes that food and beverage (including alcohol) and food and beverage retailing deals in the second quarter experienced sustained private equity participation. However, overall deal activity in these two subsectors was substantially driven by corporate actions in second quarter 2014, with corporate volume representing 28% of total deal volume and corporate value representing 56 percent of total deal value. Additionally, corporate spin-offs and divestitures remain a key strategy for retail and consumer companies looking to refocus their core businesses and maximize synergies and return for investors. PwC expects to see additional spin-offs within the corporate sector especially as an increased level of shareholder activism and management focus on core capabilities may spur spin-off activity, primarily in the food and beverage sector.

"The retail and consumer sector experienced a solid first half of the year in deal activity, setting the stage for 2014 to surpass 2013 in transaction value and volume," said Leanne Sardiga, partner and PwC's U.S. retail & consumer deals leader. "We continue to follow several macroeconomic trends – accelerating urbanization, demographic shifts, climate change, resource scarcity, shifts in economic power and technological breakthroughs – and how they're reflected in current market conditions. Retail and consumer companies that understand the business implications of these trends, and the potential for using M&A to quickly capitalize on market opportunities, may expect to find success."

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