Term Sheet

The latest on private equity, M&A, deals and movements — from Wall Street to Silicon Valley

It's official: Deal-making remains sluggish

October 1, 2012: 3:55 PM ET

Another subpar quarter for deal-making.

FORTUNE -- Last week we reported on preliminary M&A data for the third quarter, which suggested that the year's deal-making slump had continued. Now we've got the official figures, and the prognosis remains negative.

Thomson Reuters reports that there was $538 billion worth of global M&A last quarter,which was down 13.3% from Q2 and down 3.4% from Q3 2011. The actual number of deals (8,476) also was down a whopping 15.4% from the year-earlier period. Maybe all those companies with record amounts of cash on hand are worried about weak Q3 earnings...

In terms of bright spots, there were two:

1. U.S. M&A activity came in at around $247 billion for 1,810 deals. That represented increases of around 20% over the dollar totals for both Q2 2012 and Q3 2011, although the actual number of deals lagged.

2. Similar situation for global private equity-backed M&A, which saw $78 billion for 1,009 deals. Dollar increases were 26.2% and 18.2% respectively, over Q2 2012 and Q3 2011, while the actual number of deals was down around 11% for both. The bulk of that increase was overseas, as U.S. private equity deal-making decreased to around $43 billion for 369 deals. Overall, private equity accounted for 14.5% of global M&A and 17.5% of U.S. M&A.

Below is a full data set:

Source: Thomson Reuters

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About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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