The increase included a notable gain in mega deals (transactions worth more than $1 billion) compared with the third quarter of 2013, which helped drive total deal value across several IP sectors. In addition, financial investors increased their participation across the majority of M&A market sectors, contributing 36.4 percent to total deal volume in the fourth quarter, the highest in five years.
"We witnessed a notable uptick in the overall M&A environment across the global industrial products industry during the fourth quarter, as worldwide business sentiment continued to improve," said Robert McCutcheon, U.S. industrial products leader, PwC. "Despite a recent rise in volatility stemming from instability in several emerging markets and a potential slowdown in China, we may see a positive deal momentum to continue in 2014. As the overall global economic recovery continues to take hold and more established markets transition from stabilization to growth, strategic and financial investors in the IP space will likely look to pursue inorganic opportunities to expand their footprints, fuel innovation and integrate technological know-how to better position their assets for the future."
Across the entire IP industry, there were 216 transactions worth $50 million or more, totaling $83.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 181 deals and $65.3 billion in total value during the previous quarter.
The chemicals industry accounted for six mega deals valued at $10.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to only one mega deal worth $1.3 billion in the third quarter.
"Financial investors are re-entering the M&A market in the IP industry, reflecting improved sentiment and moderation in perceived risk, particularly in more established global markets. They are tapping into their strong cash positions that are available from recent IPOs and other exits of their investments such that they are able to redeploy their capital into new industrial companies. That interest should continue in the year ahead, given cash on-hand, ample liquidity and the availability of low-cost debt financing," said McCutcheon.
Local deals continued to drive M&A activity in the fourth quarter with Asia and Oceana being most active, recording 85 deals worth more than $50 million with a total value of $25.9 billion compared to 60 local deals and a total value of $14.5 billion in the previous quarter. However, there was also an uptick in North American local deal activity in the fourth quarter of 2013 with 50 deals worth $50 million or more totaling $19.5 billion, up from 39 deals with a total value of $11.1billion from the third quarter.
"We are continuing to see a moderately improved climate in the U.S. for deal making given the increasing attractiveness of the domestic manufacturing sector. This trend is in line with the results of our most recent Manufacturing Barometer survey, which showed sequential and year-over-year gains in sentiment among U.S. industrial manufacturers regarding the prospects of the domestic economy," said McCutcheon. "Our Barometer also pointed out that the expansion into new markets abroad increased citing plans for new facilities abroad. We expect this to be a continued trend among IP companies for the longer term."
PwC's IP M&A analysis is a quarterly report of announced U.S. transactions with value greater than $50 million analyzed by PwC using transaction data from Thomson Reuters.