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PwC reports a mild decline in third quarter transportation & logistics M&A activity

PwC said this week that deal making activity in the transportation and logistics sectors for the third quarter was off slightly, while still impressive over all.

In its “Global Transportation and Logistics M&A Deals Insights Q3 2016,” report, PwC said that M&A activity for the sectors has been stable in 2016, with 50 or more deals, respectively, in the first and second quarters, with the third quarter coming in at 50, which marked an 11 percent decline in deal volume compared to the second quarter of 2016 and the third quarter of 2015.

“We saw a softening of deal activity across a number of sectors, likely driven by political and economic uncertainty related to the US presidential election, the long term implications of Brexit and continued uncertainty over economic slow-down in China,” Darach Chapman, PwC US Transportation & Logistics Deals Leader, told LM.

When looking at deals in terms of value, PwC said that third quarter total value was $26 billion, which was off 5 percent annually and 30 percent compared to the second quarter, even though over all activity remains strong.

In terms of megadeals, which PwC defines as transactions valued at more than $1 billion, PwC said there were five in the third quarter, with a total value of $14 billion. 

When asked if the pace of these megadeals will remain in this current range, Chapman said that “given the geographic and sub-sector diversity of megadeal activity over the last few years, we would expect the overall T&L sector to continue to generate megadeals in line with its current range.”

According to PwC, the logistics category tracked by PwC saw a 20 percent increase in deal volume on an annual basis in the third quarter, with logistics deal value up by more than three times to $2.8 billion over the last 12 months through the third quarter.

Chapman attributed this gain to what he called the forces of inorganic growth agendas and globalization of logistics solutions, which continue to drive activity in this subsector, despite the aforementioned over all uncertainties.

Strategic investors, whom have historically represented a large amount of M&A activity for transportation and logistics, were joined more than they have been in the past by financial investors, with PwC noting that the total deal volume and value of financial investors saw gains of 8 percent and 33 percent, respectively, whereas deal volume for strategic investors in the third quarter, at ten, dropped to its lowest level over the last 12 quarters.

Chapman said that the majority of the softening in deal volume was attributable to reduced activity by strategic investors, who are likely to be more influenced by political and economic uncertainties. 

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Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review and is a contributor to Robotics 24/7. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis.
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