U.S. Foreign M&A Trends Suggest Corporate Confidence in Recovery

Includes: CAR
by: Research Recap

Avis Budget Group Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CAR) agreement to acquire Avis Europe PLC has pushed year-to-date volume of foreign acquisitions by U.S. acquirers to its highest point since 2007, according to Standard & Poor’s Valuation and Risk Strategies research group.

The present dollar volume of such M&A deals is at $92.8 billion on 828 transactions, the highest since the comparable period in 2007 when U.S. acquisitions of foreign targets reached $171.7 billion on 905 deals. In terms of deals over $1 billion, 24 have occurred this year, compared with 11 in the year ago period.

According to the data, Europe is the most popular geographic location for U.S. foreign M&A deals, representing 45% of transactions so far in 2011, compared with 50% last year at this time.

Although Europe is the most frequent location for U.S. foreign M&A deals, growth has recently accelerated in developing markets; Africa/Middle East targets deal volume has jumped 85%, while Latin America and Caribbean deals have climbed almost 58%.

With regard to industry sectors, information technology is the most popular, accounting for 23% of deals, slightly off from the 25% in the same period last year. Also of note is the28.6% year-over-year decline in the number of U.S. foreign acquisitions in the health care sector.

As anxiety surrounding the financial market reaction to recent weaker-than-expected economic data has caused some investors to doubt the durability of the global recovery, the upswing in foreign acquisitions by U.S. corporations presents some evidence of confidence among the corporate buyers.