Number of Big Deals Drops in 2009

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 12:00 am  

The only other buyer to show up more than twice was, in an unmistakable sign of the times, the U.S. Treasury. Uncle Sam bought stock in 11 Arkansas banks as part of the bank bailout "Capital Purchase Program," and nine of those purchases exceeded $9 million.

The federal government also shows up as the buyer in a $15.7 million deal with Biotechnical Services Inc. of North Little Rock to provide support services to the National Toxicology Program.

New Discoveries
Many - maybe most - M&A deals are announced without dollar signs attached. Twelve of the deals on our list have no price tag but are believed to be in the $9 million range or above.

When a publicly traded company is involved, the price usually appears deep inside a subsequent quarterly report to the Securities & Exchange Commission. For instance, the sale of Sparks Health System of Fort Smith to Health Management Associates of Naples, Fla., was announced in August, but the $138 million price wasn't revealed until December.

One of the deals on our list is undoubtedly far more than $9 million, and the value will likely become known in the near future. But at this writing, it still isn't known how much CI Capital Partners LLC of New York is paying for Transplace, the logistics firm with annual revenue of $700 million that is jointly owned by J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Springdale. That deal was announced last month.

Merkle Inc. of Columbia, Md., shows up on the list with two Arkansas-related deals of unknown value. The first was its purchase in May of CognitiveData Inc. of Little Rock, and the second is CognitiveData's July purchase of CMS Direct of Minneapolis.

Research for this list did turn up the unreported price tags of three previously announced deals that weren't large enough to make the list:

  • Community Health Systems Professional Services Corp. of Franklin, Tenn., paid $2.7 million for the 74-bed Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital. That deal, structured as a short-term lease with a new facility to be built after four years, was announced in February.
  • Amedisys of Baton Rouge, La., paid $3.2 million to White River Health System of Batesville for three home health agencies and one hospice agency. That deal was announced last January.
  • Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock paid $3.8 million for a 51 percent interest in DMS, a marketing business working in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. That deal was announced in September.




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