Fleet Management

PwC: Global M&A Activity Stayed Stable in First Quarter

May 12, 2017

By David Cullen

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Photo: Evan Lockridge
Photo: Evan Lockridge

In its Q1 2017 update on M&A activity in the global transportation and logistics space, PricewaterhouseCoopers (d.ba. PwC) reports that deal activity in the quarter remained stable.

“While total deal value grew by 2%, deal volume declined by 9%,” said the global management-services firm. “As anticipated, given the recent structural changes in the category, Shipping deal activity picked up. Logistics continued to be an active category, although not to the levels experienced in late 2015 and early 2016. While not traditionally active in M&A, the Rail category delivered the largest deal of the quarter, a $2.1 billion acquisition of Florida East Coast Railway by Infraestructura y Transportes Mexico.”

Meanwhile, the Passenger Air category continued to drive most deal value in the sector, recording two megadeals in Q1. On the other hand, after heightened activity seen through mid-2016, “deal activity in the Trucking category appears to have tempered.”

Yet, added PwC, the recent Swift-Knight merger announcement ”suggests the forces driving M&A in the category continue to exist.”

PwC explained that M&A activity has slowed, as indicated by the drop-off in deal volume for Q1, which broke an upward trend. However, total deal value remained “relatively stable,” increasing by 2% to $18.2 billion in Q1. In addition, the firm found that average deal size is continuing to decline from the peak set in as of Q4 15. PwC attributed that to “a drop in megadeals across all categories.”

It was noted that there were three megadeals in Q1 17 exceeding a disclosed value of $1.0 billion, up from two in Q4 16 and down from four in Q1 16. PwC said these transactions represent 27% of the total disclosed deal value for the quarter.

Looking at the activity regionally, PwC said that the vast Asia & Oceania region continued to see the highest target and acquirer activity, followed by the UK & Eurozone region and North America.

“Cross-border deal volume remained flat in Q1 17 while local deals (deals within country boundaries) have declined to 38 from 44 in the last quarter,” the company noted. “Even so, local deals continue to account for the majority of M&A activity in the transportation and logistics sector.”

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