The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
This week, Alamos Gold and AuRico announced a merger worth $1.5 billion. This is all while broad speculation continues that former Xstrata boss Mick Davis is looking to finally deploy his $5.6 billion war chest held by his company, X2 Resources.
Common wisdom is that the majority of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) such as these take place at both the peaks and the troughs of the market. In this week’s Chart of the Week, we wanted to take a look at the truth of this statement over the last dozen years.
The answer: the number of deals peaked in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis in 2009 and 2010. During this time, the overall market dropped off and subsequently recovered with the commodity supercycle still intact. The average value per deal was very low post-crisis, steadily increasing until 2011 when the junior market would reach its most recent heights.
During hot market years, M&A activity was frequent and significant. In years such as 2006, 2007, and 2011, both the cumulative value and the average value per deal were at their highest rates. In the down year of 2013 the data was also relatively positive, but it was also skewed by the $90 billion merger of Glencore and Xstrata. Not including this outlier, it would appear that the data point would be more inline with the trend.
Last year, there were 544 deals for the unimpressive total of $44.6 billion. The volume of deals and their cumulative value reached their lowest points since 2003 and 2004 respectively. Most deals in 2015 will follow suit from the previous year, serving defensive and conservative means such as the Alamos and AuRico merger.
However, if Mr. Davis or like-minded groups start dipping into their war chests, that will mark the beginning of something new: the tilting to the speculative side of M&A that traditionally is a prelude to market recovery.