As announced US merger and acquisition activity climbed to a record level in 2015 with over $2 trillion in transactions taking place, on the other side of the coin, the number of cancelled transactions fell to their lowest level since 2006.
According to a review of data retrieved by S&P Global Market Intelligence the number of previously announced US M&A deals that were cancelled in 2015 totaled 597 down 11% from 2014’s count of 673 previously announced cancelled deals.
Also retreating last year was the aggregate value of cancelled deals. In total, $224.4 billion worth of previously announced US M&A deals were terminated last year.That’s a drop of $175 billion, or 44%, from the $399.9 billion in deals terminated in 2014. In sum, last year’s total for cancelled US M&A deals marked the first time less than 600 deals were pulled since 2006 when 548 deals were halted.
With regard to sectors, deals from the consumer discretionary sector saw the largest value of cancelled deals in 2015 with $95.7 billion. That was followed by $56.7 billion in cancelled health care M&A transactions in 2015 and $34.5 billion in scrapped deals from the financial sector. Topping the list for cancelled deals last year was Comcast Corporation (NasdaqGS:CMCS.A) cancelling its previously announced February 2014 $70.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC) on April 24, 2015.
The deal accounted for 31% of the total value of cancelled transactions last year. Subsequently, Charter Communications, Inc. (NasdaqGS:CHTR) entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC) for $78.8 billion on May 23, 2015.
In early 2016, the downward trend in cancelled deals continues. To date this year there have been 19 cancelled US M&A deals with an total value if $12.2 billion. In contrast, in the year ago period 99 M&A transactions with an total value of $17 billion were cancelled.