Tech M&A fights off crunch

Technology deals have so far proved immune to the economic pessimism that has infected other parts of the financial world.

According to the latest report from tech M&A advisors Regent, the number of deals involving European technology companies dropped by just 1% between Q2 and Q1 of 2008, whilst the combined value increased from US$45bn to US$53.4bn. Taking together, the opening half of 2008 is only marginally slower than the equivalent period last year.

Peter Rowell, chairman of Regent, said: “With all of the gloomy news about recessionary fears, inflationary pressure and the stock market decline, it is somewhat perverse to announce that in the first half of the year deal flow has remained at healthy levels. And whilst logic would suggest that sooner of later the pressure of the economy will have an effect on transaction volume, we are not seeing any slowdown as we move into the second half of the year.”

The UK remains top dog in terms of deal flow, with activity up in H1 from the end of 2007, largely a result of the fire-sale induced by the changes to the Capital Gains Tax. Scandinavian companies showed recovering activity in second quarter whilst North American activity declined slightly after two quarters of good growth. The biggest percentage fall in buying activity was amongst Eastern European buyers where telecoms transactions in particular almost halved.