Merger and acquisition activity remains sluggish
New York City Despite earlier improvements in credit and equity markets and corporate balance sheets, U.S. merger and acquisition activity remained sluggish in the first half of 2010, according to Transaction Services practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PwC).
Unforeseen economic events in the last two months triggered a global ripple effect reviving sentiments of uncertainty, setting the stage for a challenging merger and acquisition environment for large cap transactions in the second half, the company said.
“Going into the second half, record dry powder in the private-equity space and unprecedented cash levels on the balance sheets of corporate America will combine with the desire of family held businesses and private equity backed management teams to sell prior to looming tax increases,” said Bob Filek, partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Transaction Services.
Merger and acquisition activity was down 3% compared with the same period in 2009. The number of closed deals in the first half of 2010 represents the lowest deal volume this decade, according to PwC. For the first five months of 2010, there were 2,969 closed deals representing $317 billion, compared with 3,065 deals valued at $323 billion in the same period of 2009.
While deal value and volume are down, willing lenders and open credits markets are available for transactions, according to PwC. “Banks and institutions are providing capital to execute deals,” said Greg Peterson, partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Transaction Services. “They are lending more conservatively, but credit is available from a variety of sources and in a variety of types — including traditional leveraged loans.”
Target promotes volunteerism with exclusive Ben & Jerry’s flavors
MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will debut two new, exclusive Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors at all stores nationwide. The super premium ice cream flavors, Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder, will be available throughout 2010 in mini cups and pints, according to the company.
Berry Voluntary is raspberry cheesecake flavored ice cream laced with white chocolate chunks and raspberry swirls. Brownie Chew Gooder is vanilla caramel ice cream with fudge brownie pieces, finished with a caramel swirl. Mini cups will be available for $1.25* and pints will be priced at $3.50.
“By partnering with the iconic and beloved Ben & Jerry’s, Target is offering our guests even more exclusive, high-quality food options,” said Greg Duppler, SVP merchandising, Target. “Target guests who purchase these new ice cream products will not only enjoy two delicious flavors at an exceptional price, but will also have the satisfaction of supporting two great brands, aligned in their strong heritage of philanthropy and volunteerism.”
Target customers can enjoy the new flavors and do good at the same time. According to the company, customers who register for a volunteer activity at www.VolunteerMatch.org/scoopitforward and forward the opportunity to five friends, will receive a coupon for a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, redeemable at Target stores, while supplies last. After that time, guests will still be able to participate in the “Scoop It Forward” promotion, and will receive a $1 off coupon in recognition of their volunteer efforts.
NPD: Appliance sales showing strength
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. According to The NPD Group, sales of major appliances generated double-digit dollar and unit growth of 16% and 12% respectively, from January to May 2010, versus January to May 2009.
“Beginning last August we began to see signs of a recovery for appliances, but the new year confirmed that we’re truly on a growth trajectory – pent-up demand started it, but now we’re seeing results driven by consumer confidence and rebate programs augmented by strong retailer promotions,” said Mark Delaney, director of The NPD Group’s home division.
Most major appliance categories are seeing a boost in sales, but the largest overall increases came from dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes dryers, and washing machines, each with double-digit growth in units and dollars, compared with the first five months of 2009, according to the report.
“It’s encouraging to see such positive results in a sector that’s been struggling for so long. If retailers and manufacturers execute well with their new product offerings and we see sustained improvements in the housing sector, the major appliance industry is poised for a solid year,” ended Delaney.