Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Numbers Lower for Florida in These Major Categories

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Numbers Lower for Florida in These Major Categories

Article excerpt

THE ECONOMY MAY BE PICKING up steam in Florida, but the mergers and acquisitions market in the Sunshine State shrank last year.

Deals in 2012 totaled 170 and they were valued at $21.6 billion.

That compares with 194 deals worth $26.9 billion in the year before, according to data from mergermarket .com, which tracks the phenomenon.

Last year, the largest sector by value was pharmaceuticals, medical and biotechnology, with 40 deals valued at $8.2 billion, or 38 percent of the pie.

Leisure was the second-most-active sector, with 13 deals valued at $2.2 billion. That was 10 percent of the total.

Of the remainder, the biggest players by value were real estate (10 percent), transportation (9.2 percent), and industrials and chemicals (8.5 percent).

The biggest deal-makers?

Bank of America Merrill Lynch had 14 transactions worth $8.6 billion. Barclays came in second, with 12 deals valued at $8.5 billion. Third was JPMorgan, which had six transactions valued at $7.8 billion.

And then there's venture capital

Speaking of deals, and money ... and a way to diversify Florida's economy, what happened to venture capital in 2012?

Nothing good.

The Sunshine State saw historic lows in terms of its share of the national pie.

Of the $26 billion invested by venture capitalists in companies around the nation, Florida got only 34 deals and $203 million, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

In the most recent quarter, it was only seven deals valued at about $41 million, the report found.

By comparison, California, another big state, had 404 deals valued at more than $2 billion.

Massachusetts, with less than half our population, had 108 deals valued at $744 million. New York had 98 deals worth $571 million.

In 2011, an unquestionably weaker point in the economic recovery, Florida had 55 deals worth $347 million.

Not a good sign, and certainly not a welcome one for a state that has been trying for years to become more of a go-to place for technology and other higher-paying industries.

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Thanks, dear readers, for your notes on my last column, the one about the region's efforts to lay the groundwork to become the host of the World Rowing Championships in 2017. …

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