Consumer Foods and Private Equity Drive Retail & Consumer Deals
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Consumer Foods and Private Equity Drive Retail & Consumer Deals

Corporations spinning off businesses, private equity investment in retail, and continued cross border activity and expansion into e-commerce drove retail & consumer merger & acquisition activity in the third quarter of 2012, according to PwC’s US retail and consumer M&A insights Q3 2012 report which was published today.

For the three month period ending September 30, 2012, there were a total of 32 deals in the retail and consumer sector with values greater than $50 million, accounting for $19.8 billion in deal value, a 60 percent increase in volume and a 160 percent increase in value from the 20 deals worth $7.6 billion during the third quarter of 2011.  In addition, there were six ‘mega’ deals (deals with values of $1 billion or more) during Q3 2012, representing $13.9 billion, a substantial jump from the 3 mega deals that totaled $4.3 billion during the same time period last year. Year-to-date 2012 activity for announced deals with values greater than $50 million is up 22 percent for volume and 119 percent for value versus the prior year.

“Third quarter M&A activity advanced at a brisk pace with significant increases in total deal volume and value from a year ago,” said Leanne Sardiga, partner and PwC’s US retail & consumer leader, transaction services. “With improving consumer sentiment, retail and consumer companies continue to use acquisitions as a vehicle for growth and for adapting to new consumer trends.  A strong interest among private equity investors for retail combined with international and e-commerce related acquisitions for retail & consumer corporate buyers are expected to drive the positive outlook for the retail and consumer sector.”

The rise of the digitally empowered consumer is driving retail business models to transition from traditional stores to a marketplace that is increasingly omni-channel. According to PwC, retailers are increasingly looking at acquisition opportunities to more quickly transform their business by expanding their e-commerce capabilities and to gain access to alternative business models.

The retail and consumer sector has also seen continued activity in corporate restructuring and spin-offs, as companies reassess their portfolios and positioning in an increasingly competitive environment. The report states that recent corporate spin-offs have generally focused on realigning businesses to distribution channels or high versus low growth product segments. As companies begin to trade separately, PwC believes there may be increased M&A activity to drive growth in the re-focused business segments.

“Deal activity in the consumer space was partially driven by large consumer packaged goods companies selling non-core operations and brands, and we expect the trend to continue over the next 12 months as consumer packaged goods companies look to sell underperforming assets and reinvest in higher margin or growth products and markets,” added Ms. Sardiga. “Private equity will continue to focus on the restaurant industry and be active in the subsector as they see opportunities to improve operating efficiencies during the economic downturn and position for growth.”

© 2012 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 11-13-12

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