Third Quarter M&A: Forget the Headlines

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Includes: MFE, PAR
by: 451 Research: Inorganic Growth

By Brenon Daly

To get an accurate read on M&A this summer, you have to look past the headlines. Undeniably, there were a few high-profile deals, including the sale of McAfee (MFE) in the largest deal ever in the security industry, as well as a high-profile bidding war that pushed 3PAR’s (NYSE:PAR) valuation into the double digits. Beyond those transactions, however, deal flow in the third quarter, which wraps today, has been distinctly average. Spending is coming in at $46bn, only slightly above the average spending of $40bn in the eight quarters since the Credit Crisis erupted.

The $46bn also sits at the midway point of spending in the first two quarters of the year ($30bn in Q1 2010 and $62bn in Q2 2010). It also nearly splits the difference between the previous year’s quarter ($38bn in spending in Q3 2009) and the previous quarter this year ($62bn in spending in Q2 2010). We’ll look at why the value of deals announced in late summer dropped one-quarter from the record level in early summer in a special report tonight, but for now consider this: Of the five largest transactions so far in 2010, just one was announced in the third quarter.