Slideshow: U.S. M&A Slows While Deal Value Plunges Nearly 67%

Lorises are one of the slowest animals on Earth. But the Slow Loris, pictured, is also venomous like some PE deals.

Things really slowed down this week for deals.

There were 86 U.S. announced transactions valued at $8.3 billion for the week ended Jan. 25, according to data from Thomson Reuters. This compares to last year — the fourth week of January — when we had 101 transactions totaling $24.8 billion. This represents a near 15% drop in the number of transactions, while deal value plunged nearly 67%. These figures aren’t final, however. Thomson Reuters data includes deals without financial terms. Once more information comes to light for those transactions, that data can be added and the numbers will likely change.

The week’s biggest deal comes from Cole Credit Property Trust II which is merging with Spirit Realty Capital. The deal is valued at roughly $3.7 billion, including debt, Thomson Reuters says.

One banker says the weekly data is meaningless. “It’s heavily skewed by one or two large transactions,” says the source adding that he is  “pretty busy.”

On the private equity side, transactions were similarly depressed. There were 14 U.S. announced private equity-backed deals this week, valued at just $20 million. This compares to last year when we had the same number of transactions, 14, which totaled a much bigger $578.1 million, Thomson Reuters says. That’s a 97% drop in value.

Again, Thomson Reuters data includes transactions that don’t have financial terms like Eze Castle. TPG Capital announced its buy of the company and didn’t reveal how much it’s paying. I’m told the Eze Castle sale is valued at $950 million. If added, this would change Thomson Reuters data and the figures wouldn’t seem bad. In fact, deal value would be up from last year.

So here are the top 5 PE deals, according to Thomson Reuters.

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl


[slide title=”5. AVL Digital”]

Earlier this week, Corinthian Capital sold AVL Digital to Stephens Capital Partners.

Pennsauken, N.J.-based AVL Digital is a self-publishing and distribution platform for independent content creators like musicians, filmmakers and authors, as well as a wide range of institutional clients.

[slide title=”4. Carl’s Patio”]

Carl’s Patio, after filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month, has found a new owner.

On Tuesday, the Boca Raton, Fla.-based casual furniture retailer said an ownership group led by Paul Otowchits, Carl’s Patio’s president, had signed a purchase agreement for the company’s assets. Weinberg Capital Group of Cleveland is also investing.

[slide title=”3. Esmark Technologies”]

Coming in third place is Esmark Technologies. Esmark Inc., the parent firm, said on Monday that it was selling Esmark Technologies to Stahlschmidt and Bouchard Group. Financial terms weren’t announced.

Esmark Tech, which will be based in Cleveland, was formed to provide technical and management services as well as commercial support to sectors such as steel, manufacturing and industrial.

[slide title=”2. Recondo Technology”]

Yesterday, Recondo Technology said it had received a $20 million growth investment from Bregal Sagemount.

Recondo provides cloud software and services to connect healthcare providers, payers and patients.

[slide title=”1. Eze Castle”]

This week, I’m inserting the top deal. TPG said Jan. 23 that it had agreed to buy Eze Castle Software and RealTick. The seller is ConvergEx (which is backed by GTCR and Bank of New York). I’m hearing that the deal was valued at $950 million.

Eze Castle provides trading software mainly for hedge funds. The sale also includes RealTick, which provides an EMS platform used by more than 1,000 institutional clients.

I reported in September that ConvergEx had put Eze Castle and RealTick on the block. By November, TPG, Hellman & Friedman and Advent were vying for Eze Castle.