THAT’S NOT CHICKEN FEED
THE TOTAL VALUE OF M&A ACTIVITY IN AUSTRALIA FELL FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT QUARTER.
Macquarie Group was the top-ranking financial adviser on merger and acquisition deals in Australia in a slowfirst quarter, according to the Hong Kong-based M&A tracker Mergermarket. Macquarie advised on six deals worth $2.47 billion over the quarter, with Investec and Nomura Holdings coming equal second with deals totalling $ 1 billion each.
Macquarie, Nomura and Investec all advised on the quarter’s biggest deal, the $1 billion takeover of Australia’s largest poultry producer, Ingham Enterprises, by US-based private equity firm TPG. The household-name chicken business had been in the Ingham family for 94 years. The deal was sealed after TPG’s Asian chief, Australian Ben Gray, outbid Chinese agribusiness company New Hope, US investment group Blackstone and private equity group Affinity.
Coming in at No 4 on the league table of M&A advisers was mining specialist RFC Ambrian (two deals; $875million), followed byMorgan Stanley (two deals; $673million).
The second-largest deal was the $779million acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in theExegoGroup, an auto parts supplier and owner of the Repco chain of stores, by the Atlanta-based Genuine Parts Company. RFC Ambrian advised on the third-largest deal, Puma Energy’s $625million acquisition of independent oil company Ausfuel from Australian private equity firmArcher Capital.
Mergermarket reports that the total value of M&A activity in Australia fell for the second straight quarter, to $6.2 billion, the weakest opening quarter for nine years. At just more than $70 billion, deal-making in the AsiaPacific region as a whole was down to a level not seen since the end of 2004.
Herbert Smith Freehills and King & WoodMallesons topped the legal adviser rankings by both value and volume of deals in Australia.
“Despite a drastic slowdown in overall M&A activity, 14 of the top 15 financial advisers saw increases in the value of their mandates compared with the first quarter of 2012,” Mergermarket reports. “Goldman Sachs was the only firm to buck the trend with a decrease of more than 30 per cent [by value], but it finished second by deal count.”