Deal Pulse: Queensland Catching The M&A Wave

By Warwick Face - March 8, 2016

Hungry technology acquirers and a slowdown in global commodity markets drove opportunistic merger and acquisition activity in Queensland in 2015, according to Pitcher Partners Brisbane’s annual Deal Pulse report.

Key facts and figures:

  • 258 M&A deals were announced in 2015, up 5% on 2014
  • Disclosed deal values in 2015 totalled $16.9bn, up 18% on 2014 values
  • The most active sector in Queensland M&A was again Business services with 44 deals
  • The largest increase in deal volume was in Queensland’s Real estate sector, up 44% in 2015

“The Energy, mining and utilities (EM&U) sector was the largest sector by value in 2015 at $11 billion, as falling commodity prices continued to encourage consolidation plays” according to Brisbane Partner in Charge – Corporate Finance, Warwick Face.

“However only 4 deals comprised 95% of the value in that sector and our research shows that M&A activity was far from concentrated in EM&U.”

Business services, Technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) all had strong activity across the year and together with EM&U accounted for almost half of all announced transactions in 2015.

“As consumer confidence improved during 2015 active acquirers in the childcare, Registered Training Organisations and professional services sub-sectors helped push M&A activity by deal volume in Business Services up by another 26% from 2014 levels,” said Mr Face.

With respect to TMT, the report identifies the growing demand for intellectual property acquisitions as a source of strong M&A activity within the sector.

“One the most pleasing aspects of the research was to see the increasing trend in Queensland businesses, like Cromwell and Dominos, taking on the world. Acquisitions of offshore ventures by Queensland businesses grew by 53%, whilst divestments to offshore entities decreased by 16%.”

From an overall market perspective, the results again show that the middle market continues to be a key driver of M&A activity in Queensland. 56% of disclosed value M&A transactions fell within the middle market range of $10m and $250m, and what’s more, 92% of all transactions came in under $150 million.

“It’s a salient reminder to policymakers that the middle market is the backbone of the economy and a key driver of economic growth in Queensland.”

Warwick Face also said that macroeconomic trends over the next 12 months would spell interesting times for the Queensland market. “Whilst there’s still a significant question as to the impact of the continued mining downturn, this is somewhat offset by current low interest rates, the low Australian dollar and increasing government support for growth sectors.”

“We have never been busier, vendor enquiries are strong, and given the quantum of transactions we know are in progress, we see an M&A wave building for the 2016 year.” said Mr Face.

To view the report please click here

For a copy of the report or for further comment, please contact:

Warwick Face, Partner in Charge – Corporate Finance, Pitcher Partners Brisbane, 0421 613 060
Sabine Wolff, Media and Communications Advisor, Pitcher Partners, 0419 529 577

This report gives a Queensland perspective to M&A activity, and includes: acquisitions by Queensland based private and public corporate entities of local, interstate and offshore ventures; and divestments of Queensland-based ventures to local, interstate and offshore entities and private equity funds. Transaction values are included in the report to the extent that deal values have been publicly disclosed. Pitcher Partners is an association of independent firms located in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Newcastle. Pitcher Partners are independent members of Baker Tilly International.

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