$100 Million-Plus Deals Dominate Biggest Deals of 2013 List

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 12:00 am  

Sinclair Broadcast Group of Hunt Valley, Md., bid $985 million for eight television stations, including KATV-TV of Little Rock, from Allbritton Communications Co. of Arlington, Va.

The biggest deal, at $7.2 billion, was the purchase by Koch Industries of Molex Inc. Molex, a global electronic components company, has two facilities in Maumelle.

Trend Line

Although deal-making appeared to be robust in Arkansas in 2013, the value of mergers and acquisitions worldwide was down 6 percent compared with 2012, “the slowest annual period of global deal making since 2009,” according to Thomson Reuters. The value of deals worldwide totaled $2.4 trillion during 2013.

Nationwide, M&A activity in the United States rose 11.3 percent in 2013 compared with 2012, Thomson Reuters said. Announced M&A activity in the U.S. totaled $1.04 trillion. Several high-value deals were responsible for the increase, including Verizon’s $130.1 billion acquisition of Vodafone Group’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless.

Marshall McKissack, who leads the M&A practice at Stephens Inc. in Little Rock, said Stephens had a strong 2013.

“We advised on about $14 billion in transaction value in 2013, which was up about 70 percent from 2012,” he said. “Overall it was a pretty strong 2013 for us.”

However, McKissack said, the M&A market was actually flat or down in 2013, if some outsize transactions were stripped from the picture. He cited specifically Dell founder Michael Dell’s $25 billion deal to take his company private and the $28 billion purchase of H.J. Heinz Co. by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.

Among the sectors driving M&A activity, McKissack said, were transportation, financial services and telecom — “really across the board. For us, I think, it’s somewhat in line with the overall market.”

“We were fortunate enough to advise on several large transactions, which always helps, but most of our activity was driven on the sell side in 2013,” he said.

“For a good company, which we like to align ourselves with, it’s still a great market. Valuations were robust in 2013. We were able to take advantage of it for our clients.”

Some deals are notable for not happening or for prompting opposition.



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