It’s been a few days since the Quebec City conference ended and I’ve learned that a survey found attendees are more positive about increased deal flow in fourth quarter, while a sale to a strategic is now the preferred exit route.
More than one-fifth, or 22%, of those attending the conference expect to see a 50% surge in M&A during fourth quarter compared to the same time period in 2009, according to Thomson Reuters. Nearly half, or 47%, think M&A will increase by 10% in the fourth quarter. Another 24% expect deal flow to remain flat in fourth quarter. Amazingly, 2% of attendees think deal flow will jump by 100%, while 5% believe deal flow will drop in fourth quarter.
Thomson Reuters questioned 120 people attending the Quebec conference; about 39% were venture capital GPs, 14% were PE GPs and 19% were LPs.
One of the main reasons firms won’t do a deal in fourth quarter? There are not enough quality companies up for sale, 36% of respondents said. Another 33% think deals are overpriced because of too much competition while 20% said company fundamentals make deals too pricey. Only 12% said financing was too expensive.
Attendees were asked what kind of exit has become most appealing versus a year ago. A majority, or 79%, said that a strategic buyer is the best option, while 13% picked a secondary sale to another firm. Only 6% still liked IPOs and 2% favored refinancings.
One VC executive told me that the IPO market is still quite shaky. “Corporates are sitting on a crap load of cash right now,” the exec says. “In tech, [strategics] are aggressively acquiring.”
Fundraising remains lackluster. A majority, or 65%, of GPs said they had not launched a fund this year (while 35% said they had). Surprisingly, 57% said they planned to raise a new fund in the next 12 months, while 43% said they weren’t.
Thomson Reuters asked all of the GPs if they expected the size of the fund to increase or decrease. Nearly half, or 48%, said they expected the size of the fund to drop because of market conditions. About one-fifth, or 22%, believed their funds will increase in size, because there are fewer funds being raised. Nearly one-third, or 31%, expect their funds to remain the same size.