Deal cancellations hit record in 2008

31 December 2008

Investment banks have seen $815 million worth of fees slip away this year as the number of takeover deals withdrawn or cancelled hit a record high, according to new figures.

The research by Thomson Reuters states that worldwide mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity fell by 35 per cent this year, with the total value of abandoned deals standing at approximately $800 billion.

Among the bigger failed takeovers was mining company BHP Billiton's $188 billion move for Rio Tinto and Microsoft's unsolicited offer for Yahoo!, Reuters noted.

JP Morgan Chase, which handled the second most M&A deals in 2008 also had the biggest estimated losses in fees from cancelled transactions at $72.6 million.

Goldman Sachs - the investment bank that led in terms of overall M&A deals - lost out on around $63.7 million.

Other investment banks in the top five for lost fees were Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Lazard, Reuters said.

James Stynes of Deutsche Bank Securities told the site that things can only get better for M&A in 2009.

"What drove the cancellations was unexpectedly dramatic gyrations in various markets - credit markets, stock markets. That has already happened," he commented.

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