“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
When Dickens first shared this quote with the world, he was not referring to the merger and acquisition (M&A) market from 2005 to 2009, but he might as well have been. In the time between the publication of the second edition of this book in 2005 and today, the overall financial markets and the levels of M&A activity have experienced both polar opposites and everything in between. From the seemingly insatiable appetite for middle-market companies that private equity firms and other buyers had in 2006 and 2007, thereby driving valuations through the roof, to the fast ending to the party and the sobering effects of a virtual halt in 2008 to 2009, sending valuations on a downward spiral, this was not a good time if you prefer merry-go-rounds to roller-coaster rides at the amusement park.
According to mergermarket, the total number of deals announced worldwide in the first half of 2009 numbered 3,873, with a total value of $709 billion. These figures represent the worst six months on record since the end of 2003. While merger and acquisition activity in the United States increased slightly in terms of the number of deals from the first quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2009, the total deal value fell from $183 billion to $171 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Mergers and acquisitions are a vital part of both healthy and weak economies and are often the primary way in which companies are able to provide returns to their owners and investors. Mergers and acquisi-