Two blurbs published today, one by the New York Times and the other by the Wall Street Journal, highlighted the state of the M&A market. The Wall Street Journal material is a great graphic showing M&A activity, generally, in the first quarter of 2009. According to the piece, overall deals are down 21% worldwide from the 1st quarter of 2008 (but rose in the U.S.). The New York Times piece specifically indicates the status of the deal market in the technology sector. Apparently, the first quarter of 2009 was the first in 7 years (since The 451 Group has been reporting on M&A activity) without a tech deal worth over a billion dollars. A relevant blurb from the NYT piece reads as follows:
The volume of tech mergers and acquisitions in the first three months of 2009 was just $8 billion, consisting of 625 deals - that’s down from $40.7 billion in the fourth quarter, comprised of 721 deals, and about $55 billion, from 835 deals, in the first quarter of 2008.
I like to look on the bright side, however, and note that this downturn is not a symbol of the fall of capitalism as we know it (hopefully), but instead it is only a sign of the fall of confidence in the deal market. Confidence is only a decision away from being back.