The Biggest Deals of 2012: Mergers, Acquisitions in Arkansas Make for a Busy Year

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 12:00 am  

(A correction has been made to this article. See end of story for details.)

Deal-making activity in Arkansas picked up in 2012 over 2011 levels, with the number of mergers and acquisitions believed to be valued at $9 million or more rising to 81 last year compared with 70 the year before.

Arkansas Business does its best to determine the value of mergers and acquisitions, but private sellers and buyers can and often do keep the details to themselves. We fail to determine the value of a large number of them in any given year (41, for example, of the 81 deals on this week’s list).

(To view the list of Biggest Deals as a PDF, click here, or buy a spreadsheet version here.)

(The PDF list of the Biggest ADFA Bond Deals can be found here, and is also available as a spreadsheet.)

Worldwide, the value of mergers and acquisitions last year totaled $2.6 trillion, according to financial data firm Thomson Reuters. That was a 2 percent increase over 2011.

Spinoffs and divestitures accounted for 47 percent of the global total ($1.2 trillion), Thomson Reuters said, the highest annual share since records began in 1980.

The value of announced M&A globally soared 53 percent in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the previous quarter of 2012. And that bulge in activity was especially true in the United States, according to Marshall McKissack, the managing director who leads the M&A practice at Stephens Inc. in Little Rock.

“With the pending fiscal cliff issues and the potential expiration of the Bush tax cuts for capital gains, there was really a flurry of activity across the U.S. for owners and shareholders to get transactions done by the Dec. 31 deadline,” McKissack said last week. “And we were no different. It was a busy month for us and a big fourth quarter.”

Nationally, $850 billion worth of deals were completed in 2012, according to McKissack, compared with $800 billion the year before. But the total number of transactions was down slightly, indicating a larger median-sized deal.

Emerging markets accounted for 28 percent of worldwide deal-making last year, a rise of 9 percent compared with 2011. And the energy and power sector saw the most activity, followed by the financial and real estate sectors, Thomson Reuters said.

The tax implications for closing a deal after Dec. 31 drove buyers and sellers to get deals done on a deadline, McKissack said, but politics hasn’t caused a fundamental change in the reasons for buying and selling businesses.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.